You can't resolve away climate change

By Phil Plait | February 21, 2010 7:30 am
earthonfire

My stance on climate change is clear: the scientific evidence that we’re getting warmer is overwhelming, and the most likely cause is that it’s human-produced. The first is fact, the second is a conclusion based on a lot of evidence.

Climategate showed us that the noise machine is in full swing; nothing in those emails takes away from the fact that there are multiple and independent lines of evidence that we’re warming up. And the talking heads on Fox and other right-wing media saying that the harsh winter is evidence against global warming shows how dumb of an argument they’re willing to make.

But it’s not just the stuffed shirts in the media making their own reality as they go along; some people in the government are trying to legislate it. Climate change deniers in both Utah and South Dakota have passed resolutions essentially condemning the science and reality of climate change. In Utah it was just a broadside at the science; in South Dakota it’s aimed at a "balanced teaching of global warming in the public schools."

Yeah, sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Besides the creationist analogies, the South Dakota resolution sounds like something out of 1984:

WHEREAS, the earth has been cooling for the last eight years despite small increases in anthropogenic carbon dioxide;

Wrong! The Earth has been warming overall, and the last decade was the warmest on record, with records going back to 1880.

WHEREAS, there is no evidence of atmospheric warming in the troposphere where the majority of warming would be taking place;

Wrong! The troposphere is warming.

WHEREAS, historical climatological data shows without question the earth has gone through trends where the climate was much warmer than in our present age.

Yes, and the Earth went through a period of heavy bombardment from asteroids and comets a few hundred million years after it formed. Just because something happened once doesn’t make it safe.

WHEREAS, carbon dioxide is not a pollutant but rather a highly beneficial ingredient for all plant life on earth. Many scientists refer to carbon dioxide as "the gas of life";

Wow. I mean, wow. Let’s lock these guys in a room filled with CO2 for an hour or two and see how much life is left in them. And I love the "many scientists" line. You know what? A whole lot more scientists call it a greenhouse gas.

Wow.

WHEREAS, more than 31,000 American scientists collectively signed a petition to President Obama stating: "There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, or methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the earth’s climate…"

This petition has been thoroughly debunked before; it’s nothing more than an attempt to muddy the waters by deniers.

However, my absolute favorite part of the South Dakota resolution is this next bit. Are you sitting down? Good:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED […]
(2) That there are a variety of climatological, meteorological, astrological, thermological, cosmological, and ecological dynamics that can affect world weather phenomena and that the significance and interrelativity of these factors is largely speculative; and

Wait, what? Did those guys in the South Dakota legislature actually say astrological?

Geez, no wonder they can’t figure out that global warming is real. They think they’re reading their horoscopes! It makes me wonder if they just want the planet to warm up so that their state has milder winters.

lalalala_beavercanthearyouIt angers me that the science of so many topics has been warped and mutilated by people with a political agenda. I have no such agenda, except to speak the truth as I see it. I make no money if global change is real, I get no power, no thrill. In fact, the idea of a substantially warmer planet scares me, if not for myself, then for my daughter and everyone destined to live in that environment.

The politicians who would vote yes on these resolutions are doing so out of a near-religious belief that global warming is not real — they’re the otter in that picture. Contacting them probably won’t help; I suspect that if every last constituent they had contacted them, they would still cleave to their beliefs.

But I urge people to write their congressional representatives anyway. And spread the word; if these two states deny reality this blatantly, then others will follow. Bet on it.

So:

doomed_UT_SD

And if other states follow suit, they may doom all of us.

Comments (372)

  1. It even starts like a creationist resolution:

    “A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION, Calling for balanced teaching of global warming in the public schools of South Dakota.”

  2. Katharine

    I’m faintly amused at how they think legislation determines scientific fact.

    This is similar to legislating on the value of pi.

  3. hudson

    that can effect world weather phenomena“? I suppose that these factors (other than the astrological ones) may create world weather phenomena, but the sentence structure makes it pretty clear that they wanted “affect”.

  4. Mr. Pedantic

    I know that’s not the point of the post, but I think that’s an otter, not a beaver.

  5. DrFlimmer

    Holy smokes!

    Btw: I would be glad if GW would not happen! But I’m afraid it is!

    Interestingly, the motives of GW-deniers are quite similar to the motives of the scientists: Preservation. Scientists want to preserve and safe our planet and all it contains. GW-deniers want to preserve their way of life, which they think is under threat from all the “scare-mongering”. Quite selfish, as man-kind usually is; too bad. I don’t understand such a behavior.

    And why is it bad trying to clean the planet a little bit. We pollute it like we have a second spare-earth somewhere. The oceans are filled with trash, the air with acid molecules. Why is it so bad to clean it up?

    And is “preserving your way of life” worth the risk of an unchangeable damage, which could threat your “way of life” even more?

  6. Rob Rohr

    Er. Not Beaver. Otter. You otter know better than that! (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

  7. Any legislator who tries to legislate reality ought to be automatically expelled from office. Permanently.

    Wait a minute… Phil, shouldn’t there be a “THE STUPID, IT BURNS” graphic around here somewhere?

  8. Katharine

    I just got out of a ridiculous debate at The Intersection where one denialist idiot tried to pass off the magazine of the John Birch Society as non-partisan.

  9. Katharine

    “Interestingly, the motives of GW-deniers are quite similar to the motives of the scientists: Preservation. Scientists want to preserve and safe our planet and all it contains. GW-deniers want to preserve their way of life, which they think is under threat from all the “scare-mongering”. Quite selfish, as man-kind usually is; too bad. I don’t understand such a behavior.”

    Goes hand-in-hand with conservatism; they cling to the past to their own detriment.

  10. Sir Craig

    More and more I believe that intelligence is not only not required to be a politician, but is actually detrimental to a political career…

  11. Sander

    Man-made globalwarming may be going on, but recent events have shown that there is a reasonable amount of non science going on in the climate community. The thing with the Himilayan glaciers is inexcusable. I think that there are a lot of smart people out there who feel betrayed by the climate research community. They are demanding a closer look at the science and quite rightly so, I think blindly believing the scientists currently involved is as stupid as denying global warming. There is a an awful lot of money going around in climate research and that is usually a warning sign.

    Phil Jones even admitted that the temperature rise since 1995 has not been statistically significant.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8511670.stm

  12. Bad Albert

    “It makes me wonder if they just want the planet to warm up so that their state has milder winters.”

    Having lived in northern climates a good portion of my life, I could sympathize with them on this. However, I can see it may not be good for a lot of other people.

  13. Scott W

    Nitpick: that’s an otter. :)

  14. Floyd

    If “they” want to preserve their way of life, they’re going to have to make changes in their own way of life. “They” really don’t need a giant diesel truck to go down to the mall, do they? And “they” need to fix up their homes so they don’t lose so much heat in the winter, and don’t have to run their A/C as much in the summer. They might even save some money over the long term.

    We have a small Toyota pickup truck that gets 29 MPG, has about 200,000 miles on it, can carry our stuff, and suits our driving needs. We take care of it, and probably will get another 200,000 miles out of it. We also try to avoid buying throwaway items where possible.

  15. That’s an otter, not a beaver.

  16. That’s just bizarre.

  17. Oh for criminy’s sake. I knew it was an otter, and wrote beaver. I mislabeled the picture when I got it, and wasn’t thinking.

    The effect/affect thing was just dumb though. :)

    Still, I know the difference between astronomy and astrology.

  18. Climate Change (or Anthropogenic Global Warming) is real. The evidence does show the Earth has been warming and is likely due to rising GHG levels. However, catastrophic climate change is a bunch of crock though. I’m not convinced that the temperature of the Earth will rise by 5 to 10 degrees in the next century like some of the “environmentalists” with an agenda say. Hey Phil, I hope a respected scientific blog like this won’t start peddling such theories or I might have to take this site off my bookmarks. It would be a shame because I love reading your interesting posts. Instead of wasting our time talking about doom and gloom theories of the AGW crowd. Let’s show the American public that simple things they do can make a huge difference in protecting our environment and go a long way towards reducing the harmful effects of humanity on the Earth.

  19. John

    Phil you’re way too close to NASA to have an objective opinion on this, and your natural leaning towards the left is giving you an even greater bias.

    Lastly, the evidence you cited has been shown to have been manipulated – and even if it wasn’t, then you’re assuming that correlation equals causation.

    I find it odd that you continue to make such fundamental errors. The same errors you’ve pointed out others making when you’ve debunked them.

  20. Mark Sletten

    Using local weather phenomenon unrelated to global climate to score political points is not a tactic used solely by the right.

    I’ve heard many talking heads, including our own president just last week, speak of violent hurricanes such as Katrina, powerful, tornado-spawning mid-west thunderstorms — and yes, the powerful winter storms dumping mega-tons of snow on DC — as the harbingers of the increasingly radical weather patterns theorized to result from global warming.

    And to be sure, I’ve heard references to the ‘extra cold winter’ argument on more media outlets than just FOX, including CNN and at least two major network news outlets. Unlike the folks who use violent local weather to PROVE global warming, the references I heard to DC snow vs global warming were tongue in cheek, even on FOX.

  21. CW

    Just had a debate with my dad about global warming. I don’t know where he heard this from – but he says that while the ice in the north polar cap is melting, the ice in the south pole is growing. I’ve not heard this at all, but I’m assuming that it’s misinterpreted data. Anyone else heard this argument before – and the reality of what may be happening? Or is it just made up all-together.

  22. Jenett Tillotson

    Have you talked much about the lawsuits filed against the EPA claiming greenhouse gases are not an endangerment and thus the EPA has no right to regulate them?
    Story here: http://tinyurl.com/yj5gxrh

    I’m not so interested in “the stupid, it burns” people, but in the 16 states that have asked the federal appeals court to intervene in these lawsuits. In fact, these 16 states are most responsible for the EPA regulating greenhouse gases in the first place.
    Story here: http://tinyurl.com/ydm9pno

    My home state of Iowa is in that list of states that are asking the federal government to intervene. There are also several organizations in Iowa that are begging the federal government to do something because global warming greatly affects their state.

    I disagree that if a couple of states swallow the stupid pill, that other states will follow suit. I think Iowa and many other states are smart enough to know good scientific arguments when they see it and will not be bullied by states that have their head in the sand. There has been and will continue to be a core of states that will fight global warming.

  23. Jack

    I am so thrilled the people around the world are rising up against the global warming scam. Thank goodness for Dr. Phil Jones for coming out with some truth. Thank you, Dr. Phil Jones, you have become a better man, you must on this path. The people of the world have been conned long enough and people in the third world countries are dieing due to this obvious scam. Dr. Jones, you have the power to stop this global warming nonsense by continuing to tell the truth, save lives in the process. You have the power to save millions upon millions of lives in the third world. Global warming extremists are trying to take more lives — Dr. Jones, you have the power to stop them by simply telling the truth, you must not let the extremists win this war because if the extremists win, many more people in the world will die over an unproven theory, hence, it’s a scam. Dr. Phil, you have the power to end the extremists from killing millions more of people. Please stop them now. You are on the right track — the track of truth. Truth is the only path to Heaven and Truth is what the people want.

  24. jearley

    The names of the bill’s sponsors are attached to it, and you can write them a nice note pointing out how flippen’ stupid they will look if they pass this thing.
    My family had a cattle ranch in South Dakota for decades. My uncles sold it years ago, and the ranch has been changed to a ‘Christian Hunting Lodge’. Sounds a little extreme, don’t you think?? I wonder what the bag limit is?

  25. jasonB

    “Wait, what? Did those guys in the South Dakota legislature actually say astrological?”

    Oh my lord, they made a typo!! Throw it all out!

    Can we put the same standard on the IPCC report? How is Himalayan ice melt coming along? Have we found Jones’ original data yet? How about the approximately 4500 climate stations that they don’t use the data from any more?

    Phil I try not to be a contrarian troll on your blog all the time. I come here because your love of astronomy is infectious. I actually recommend your site to my friends. Here comes the “but”

    But I need to ask you, when you were the head of the JREF, if someone made a claim with as many questions, “mistakes” and holes in their claim as did the theory of AGW would have made the payout?

    So when a group of tax and spend politicians come at me and many like minded people and once again want to further tell us how to live and take more of our legally earned money, we say your proof had better be irrefutable. Open all the books. Release all the data. If the science was that compelling I suspect we wouldn’t need a FOIA ruling or whistle blower hacked emails to get that data.

  26. Tim

    Phil, I yet to find any climate science that has not been been distorted and misrepresented to suit the political agenda of people who seek to profit from CO2 control. Hansen set the stage for politicized science way back in 1988 when they deliberately opened the windows the night before the hearing in order to raise the temperature in the hearing room.

    So please stop pretending that the folks pushing the AGW agenda are nothing but ‘honest scientists seeking truth’. The only difference between an AGW scientist and a scientist working for a tobacco company is the signature on their paychecks.

    It is unfortunate that the rest of us forced to sit on the sidelines trying to decide whose exaggerations to believe this week.

  27. Utakata

    And yes, John…but what political stripe are you? Does that not baist your view as well?

    I say this, because there was nothing really left wing in what Phil was saying. There was no call for mass redistrubution of income, or nuetering of capitalism, or creating huge a welfare state or asking Fox’s talking heads to be line up against a wall and shot. Yes, he did mention “the right,” but only in so far as where most of the anthropogenic global warming denialist clap trap seems to be coming from. I’m quite sure if this was nonsense was being spewed out from the left, BA will be the first to give them the beat down.

    Besides we’re talking about a piece of legislation that has “astrological” in it. Do you really want to call yourself a skeptic and/or a scientist and support that? It seems to be more unresearched shrill than anything based on scientific evidence or otherwise.

  28. Katharine

    Realistically, it’s not the left or the right per se I side with on this; it’s the climatological community, because they’re the ones who are actually trained to study this stuff.

    I find challenging them without equivalently rigorous evidence absurd.

  29. kim

    Time’s up fellas; the game is about over. Doubt has crept into the body politic to match the chill felt throughout. In order to make sane policy decisions, we must know the climate’s sensitivity to CO2, and despite all the caterwauling, we do not know that critical figure. So let’s find out. It’s important.
    ======================================

  30. llewelly

    Sander Says: February 21st, 2010 at 8:24 am :

    Man-made globalwarming may be going on, but recent events have shown that there is a reasonable amount of non science going on in the climate community.

    Quite the opposite. Recent events show that certain deniers have created the illusion of scandal through extensive use of misquoting and outright falsehoods.. Recent events show that some deniers are eager to pretend that a tiny number of errors in AR4, a report totaling about 3000 pages, are somehow indicative of widespread problems in the IPCC. Ironically, those reporting the errors have made errors at a far greater rate than the IPCC. Recent events show those claiming a bunch of purloined emails, code and other notes show evidence of a scandal at CRU cannot tell comments from code, and engage in egregious misquoting and distortion of the contents of the emails.

    These events show that those who think global warming is not real, not caused by humans, or not dangerous, have been mislead by by a widespread anti-science effort to confuse and deceive people. I urge you to get James Hoggan’s The Climate Cover-up, and read it, so you can understand how and why the anti-science folk are creating confusion about global warming.

    Phil Jones even admitted that the temperature rise since 1995 has not been statistically significant.

    Global warming is a long-term trend. “Since 1995″ is not long enough. Phil Jones’s remarks do not mean global warming is not real or not significant. Phil Jones’s remarks were about the CRU record. The GISTEMP record does show warming over that period, and so do the records of ocean heat content.

    In short, the deniers have no clue what they are are talking about, and they often willfully distort the remarks of scientists to support their agenda. If you take their words at face value, you are making a serious error.

  31. kim

    While I think the term ‘astrological’ was a mistake or a misprint, it might behoove you objective people to check the dictionary. The first definition in mine, is ‘astronomy’. It is also now obsolete. I’d have expected a lover of astronomy to know this old definition, and not to sneer in this particularly unscientific way.

    My dictionary? Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate.
    =====================================

  32. Katharine

    Part of the problem is that half of America doesn’t know squat about the scientific process, since the amount of science taught to non-science majors, much less what non-science-major college freshmen know, is pretty much tantamount to near-nothing. Even looking at the classes I’ve taken as a biology major, introductory college biology is somewhat inadequate. (Introductory chemistry – particularly because I’ve taken organic chemistry – and introductory physics seem okay, but then again, I’m a biology major, not a chemistry major or a physics major.)

    School boards need to be run by people actually trained to teach – professors and teachers getting paid for their time as a school board member, part time (none of this ‘prominent community member’ crud, schools better be run by people who know what they’re talking about), and higher education needs to be radically restructured to allow a better all-around education in addition to giving professors more time to give their students a good education in their major.

  33. Katharine

    “While I think the term ‘astrological’ was a mistake or a misprint, it might behoove you objective people to check the dictionary. The first definition in mine, is ‘astronomy’. It is also now obsolete. I’d have expected a lover of astronomy to know this old definition, and not to sneer in this particularly unscientific way.”

    The modern understanding of the term ‘astrology’ – the definition popularly used – is to refer to the old pseudoscience, not as an alternate term of reference to astronomy. As far as I’m aware, most astronomers hate being called ‘astrologers’. You are committing sheer obfuscation.

  34. kim

    Katharine, are you suggesting that communities be taxed without community representation?
    ==========================================================

  35. Katharine

    But I agree in that it was probably a misprint. Albeit one that makes me think that the all-around scientific literacy of the author is close to nil.

  36. Katharine

    “Katharine, are you suggesting that communities be taxed without community representation?”

    What the crud does this have to do with a school board? People are taxed for things they don’t actively participate in or necessarily direct – road building, local health care, defense, et cetera!

  37. Katharine

    Put it this way.

    Who would you rather have directing the curriculum: a professor who knows what they’re talking about or, say, a businessman who knows virtually nothing about it?

  38. kim

    Katharine, keep talking.
    ===============

  39. Colin

    I’m upset that the right wing lunatic fringe in America that has started looking at climate change. It adds another player to the discussion, and muddies the waters.

    Then again, I’m equally upset that the left wing lunatic fringe in America has started looking at climate change. It’s ridiculous that so many people sincerely believe their uninformed opinions, and want to impose the conclusions they reach onto others.

    On the one hand, the point the author makes above is valid – it is ridiculous for the right wing to be clinging to a belief so strongly that they are trying to legislate its truth. It adds nothing to the discussion. I’m not even sure I understand what it is they’re intending to achieve with this – they’ve “resolved” an opinion, now what? Does anyone except the right wing nuts and their corresponding left wing screwballs care?

    On the other hand, what is it the author wants to achieve? Got a bit of a hero complex? Saying things like “And if other states follow suit, they may doom all of us” is a bit stupid. What do we care if every government in the world has an “official” opinion that they write into law? Does that change anything? No, it doesn’t.

    The only reason that the author might be so terrified of this stupid resolution is because it is not the resolution he wants passed. There is a growing contingent of people who make the following logical error:
    1. If the climate is changing significantly, and
    2. The climate is not self-regulating, and
    3. The bulk of the climate change is, at least in the last, say 50 years, is a direct result of the consumption decisions of individual human decisions, both in private and through companies.
    THEN:
    Government proclamations can, and should, be used to punish people for their decisions.

    It strikes me that for the extreme left wingers, extremist environmentalism has become the replacement for religion. Where religious people fear the punishment of their gods, and seek to punish others who do not follow their rules and proclamations, a growing contingent of otherwise educated people are fearful of the punishments of “Mother Earth,” and seek to make sure everyone follows the rules, by taxes, penalties, and regulations. A rabid environmentalist cannot possibly hope to punish everyone that doesn’t live by his laws by himself, and so turns to the government to punish the general public, at the expense of the taxpayer.

    I don’t know whether climate change is happening or not. The author stating that it is “a fact,” is not enough to convince me. It does seem to me that there is no real reason climate would not be changing. So I suppose I can accept proposition 1. above. Whether or not climate is self-regulating (proposition 2.) is trickier. It certainly seems to me that if there are documented instances in the distant past where the temperature was significantly higher, and it has since cooled, seems to suggest that, whether it is accounted for in climate change models or not, there is probably some effect which stops runaway heating and cooling. So I’m not keen on proposition 2. but, since I do not know what this self regulation mechanism might be, I can’t very well pretend to be convinced of its existence. So a reluctant acceptance of proposition 2. subject to revision.
    Proposition 3. I can actually accept much more easily. It’s halfway reasonable. If you’ve seen that satellite photo of Earth at night, it’s quite easy to believe we do have some effect on the environment. I certainly can’t accept the usual follow-on, that our effect is necessarily major and catastrophic. But in general the propositions are ok with me. So I suppose I believe in AGW. Maybe.

    The big problem lies in the conclusion. Relying on government to solve your problems is just as bad as relying on a god to answer your prayers. It’s an outsourcing of your problems to a “free” service so you don’t have to actually enact what you believe or work to get what you want. In the end, everybody pays.

    A much better solution was hinted at by Floyd, above. By making your own personal sacrifices to attain the things you want, the more you work at it, the more you will discover extra details which help you along. For example, by choosing to buy better cars, and trying to reduce energy usage, Floyd has noticed that he saves money. Further, by making these choices, the market changes, and companies change their practices.

    Remember the “dolphin-friendly tuna” days? It wasn’t the government that saved the dolphins – it was the choices that individuals made. Companies sell more tuna when they don’t hurt dolphins. In the same way, make your choices reflect your beliefs, and get the job done yourself.

    Leave the screaming and the shouting to the lunatic fringe.

  40. Katharine

    Kim, keep screwing up.

  41. kim

    Shall we talk about replicability in science and how the released emails demonstrate a resistance to that by the East Anglians? Or about the perversion of peer review scandalously documented in the emails? You’ve a thing or two to learn about ‘scientific process’ still, Katharine.
    ================================

  42. ZomZom

    There may be a kernel of truth to AGW, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into a need to implement policies advocated by its loudest proponents. We derive tremendous benefit from the burning of fossil fuels, and the costs of transitioning to other sources of fuel have to be weighed against any benefits derived from reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

    It’s tempting to take the worst examples of your opponents’ viewpoint and then paint the entire opposition with a broad brush, but it doesn’t elevate the level of discourse when you do so.

  43. @ Jason #25
    “Oh my lord, they made a typo!! Throw it all out! ”
    If it was a draft copy, fine. But how many eyes does it go past before being finalized? That the typo wasn’t caught indicates that a) it wasn’t read carefully, and/or b) no one who read it knows the difference between astrology and astronomy.
    @Phil
    I forgive you for mislabelling an otter. Your an astronomer, I’m a biologist. Feel free to correct me on my blog if I call a giant molecular cloud a planetary nebula. Not that I would…
    @Jack #23:
    DNFTT
    @Tim #26
    If AGW proponoents are bankrolled by carbon those “seeking to profit from CO2 contrl”, and AGW opponents are bankrolled by fossil fuel companies, then all we can do is return to the data. Which largely points to increasing energy in the atmosphere due to trapped heat, with CO2 playing a significant role, and a significant portion of that CO2 has been released through combustion of fossil fuels.

  44. Matt

    I managed to take an entire college course designed to sort this out. Throughout the class we examined various data and read various opinions about global warming. I’m sure we all remember Gore’s “Hockey Stick” graph and the expanded version that shows similar (speculated) peaks and valleys.
    Every report I’ve seen supporting global warming seems to make it out to be worse than it is, and uses some pretty serious scare tactics to distract people from the real issue. Is climate change happening? If climate change is real and as drastic as reputed, are human’s causing it? Is climate change a Bad Thing? Some global warming supporters automatically assume the answer is yes to all of these and then look only at data that supports it. I’m sure we can all speculate on the other iterations.
    My own interpretation of the data I’ve seen is that global warming might be real, humans are probably a factor in it (cows and volcanoes produce more greenhouse gasses), and we have no way to judge whether or not it’s a bad thing. Geologically speaking, this could pass in the blink of an eye, leaving the earth relatively unchanged. Or we could experience an expansion of tropical rainforests, generally enriching the air with oxygen and promoting the evolution of new life. Or the seas could rise over the next thousand years and force us to move a few cities.
    All in all, whether global warming is real or not, it’s probably a good thing for humans to reduce emissions. All our children will have cleaner air to breathe, a chance at a longer more productive life. We can’t legislate away the evidence for global warming, but we can’t dismiss the evidence against it either. I had a chance to play with the GIS software and saw some interesting things. Over the global map, I saw that some areas were warming over the years and some were cooling. When analyzing this data, we (my class, professors and students) found that generally speaking, the global average temperature was staying right about the same. Depending on what period of time you look at, the earth could be generally warming OR generally cooling. Depending on exactly when you take your data, you can make the graphs look like anything you want.
    And the moral of the story is: be a good skeptic and reserve judgment for when things actually start to happen. In the mean time, be a good environmentalist and try to clean things up. No matter how we label the general trends we observe in the world at large, there’s probably too much momentum behind them for us to significantly change them in our lifetimes.

  45. kim

    Bipedal Tetrapod, the Accumulated Cyclone Energy, the total energy of all the cyclones and hurricanes in the world is at a 30 year low. Now granted, this isn’t all the energy in the atmosphere. And what about the recent lack of heating, unprojected by the climate models which use a high sensitivity of the climate to CO2?

    As I’ve pointed out, the sensitivity of our climate to CO2 is unknown. The models have failed for that reason. We need to find out that sensitivity.
    ====================================

  46. jearley

    Katherine,
    as a teacher, I agree with much of what you have said, but School Boards can not really be run by educators. School Boards are (in Oregon, anyway) non paid, elected positions put in place by the electorate to oversee the School Districts. They have no more expertise in education than legislators have in government. They are people, who because of their interest in the schools, take the time (thousands of hours, over the course of their terms in office) to do a difficult job. If they are good, they hire a competent Superintendent, who may well be an expert on education. Just as often, the Superintendent is a Principal or other administrator who is good at taking a hard line on negotiations with the teachers’ associations, and gets hired for that reason. I have a mixed feeling about my School Board- most of them won’t listen to teachers at all, and we are the ones in the classroom everyday.

  47. jearley

    Colin said, in part:

    “Remember the “dolphin-friendly tuna” days? It wasn’t the government that saved the dolphins – it was the choices that individuals made. Companies sell more tuna when they don’t hurt dolphins. In the same way, make your choices reflect your beliefs, and get the job done yourself.”

    Well put. I tend not to preach about this stuff, but I point out to my students that I, personally, have put my money where my heart and mind are, and bought PVs and a Solar water heater for my home, and a hybrid car. Act locally. If enough people do, it will make a difference.

  48. Theobroma Cacao

    JasonB: the data are available and have been. Run the analyses yourself. For example, http://woodfortrees.org/
    Tim: you’re confused. It is the denialists, not the scientists involved in climate research that have documented GW, who are the ones getting funding from sources with a vested interest in delaying any action, e.g., the oil industry. Look it up.

    It is sad and somewhat surprising that people fall for the same old tactics (an in some cases, the same ‘scientists’) used by entrenched interests that were used against efforts to document smoking causes cancer and CFCs damage the ozone layer. It is also sad but not surprising given the state of science/math education that people do not understand the term “statistically significant”.

    Unfortunately, it looks like the denialists and entrenched interests have won. I suspect it will take far too long to significantly change CO2 production to prevent significant climate change. Maybe geo-engineering will work?

  49. SLC

    One of the most interesting things about climate change deniers is that many of them are also evolution deniers. In fact, virtually all evolution deniers are also climate change deniers, as exemplified by the clowns at the Dishonesty Institute and YEC Roy Spencer.

  50. John

    @Utakata 27

    Sorry, thats not quite what I meant. Its not phil’s left leaning, its more that he feels compelled to disagree with those on the right who have traditionally been skeptical of AGW.

    I myself am pretty central/non-partisan liberal, and no, I don’t think it should make a difference.

    @CW 21
    Spot on, satellite data shows more antarctic ice now than there was 30 years ago. The reverse in the arctic.

  51. @ZomZom #43
    “We derive tremendous benefit from the burning of fossil fuels, and the costs of transitioning to other sources of fuel have to be weighed against any benefits derived from reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
    If by “we” you mean the industrialized western nations, and “benefit” you mean short-term profit while risking wealth in the long term, fine. By the same token, we “benefit” from dragger fishing and clearcutting. Oh, and dumping waste into rivers.

  52. jwoww

    “Lindzen on climate science advocacy and modeling – “at this point, the models seem to be failing”

    Very interesting letter sent to the Boston Globe. Authored by the Alfred P. Sloan professor of atmospheric sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. So should I believe in the conclusions of an accredited PhD from MIT who directly works in the field? Or the thoughts of others who aren’t experts and don’t specialize in the field?

    Or should I listen to the golf course exploiter Pachauri?

  53. Jason

    It’s warmer on Mars as well. Did humans cause that? Or is maybe the sun a little hotter this decade?

    But because there is no profit to be made off the sun’s output so those facts are brushed aside to sell more CO2 credits, etc.

  54. tsig

    Why didn’t they vote to raise the average temperature in the winter or regulate the rain for the farmers?

    I don’t see any downside to reducing gravity by one half thereby giving everyone a weight loss.
    (exemptions for those with medical conditions)

    tsig

  55. @John (#50), does it even register when you lie that blatantly regarding the Antarctic ice?

    The total ice in Antarctica is decreasing. The surface area of the ice on the water has increased (true) but we also know and understand that:

    Why is Antarctic sea ice increasing? There are several contributing factors. One is the drop in ozone levels over Antarctica. The hole in the ozone layer above the South Pole has caused cooling in the stratosphere (Gillet 2003). This strengthens the cyclonic winds that circle the Antarctic continent (Thompson 2002). The wind pushes sea ice around, creating areas of open water known as polynyas. More polynyas leads to increased sea ice production (Turner 2009).

    Another contributor is changes in ocean circulation. The Southern Ocean consists of a layer of cold water near the surface and a layer of warmer water below. Water from the warmer layer rises up to the surface, melting sea ice. However, as air temperatures warm, the amount of rain and snowfall also increases. This freshens the surface waters, leading to a surface layer less dense than the saltier, warmer water below. The layers become more stratified and mix less. Less heat is transported upwards from the deeper, warmer layer. Hence less sea ice is melted (Zhang 2007).

    In summary, Antarctic sea ice is a complex and unique phenomenon. The simplistic interpretation that it must be cooling around Antarctica is decidedly not the case. Warming is happening – how it affects specific regions is complicated.

    In other words, don’t be a simpleton.

  56. kim

    Let me address Phil for a moment. Sure, the evidence we’ve warmed is overwhelming, as we’ve been doing since the end of the Little Ice Age. Phil Jones has agreed that there are two other episodes in the last century and a half during which the earth heated as fast as it did in the last quarter of last century. So, the question is why are we heating? The evidence that the heating is human caused is becoming less and less sure by the week. The evidence that it is not human caused is most supported by Phil Jones’ admission that the earth heated at a similar rate at other times in the recent past when CO2 was not rising. Then there is, of course, the lack of recent heating while CO2 levels continue to rise.

    I urge you to examine the evidence with an unjaundiced eye.
    =============================

  57. J Greer

    It amazes me that you claim to be such a great skeptic. You are actually a selective skeptic. You are only skeptical on conservative issues.

    There has been data tampering, collusion, exclusion of evidence, and just about every type of poor science exposed in the global warming cabal.

    You can’t even concede that the lead scientists in this endeavor are very poor scientists that have been bought and paid for politically and financially.

    You should stick to astronomy and stop being a mouthpiece for an exposed sham.

    Jeff

  58. Alexrkr

    Hey Phil, do you know of the youtuber potholer54? I’d suggest posting his series on climate change here. It deals with a lot of claims from the denialists as well as makes sense of a lot of the climate data.

    Keep up the great work.

  59. Jason (55): The Sun is not the cause of global warming on other planets. If Mars were warming a little, the Earth would warm a LOT. Read this.

  60. Carter

    ACC is real by definition – and perhaps all living things, especially trees, contribute to climate change. The thing is, we humans have a knack for making out population extra effective at affecting the environment around us. That’s the point after all, and it’s been a good survival strategy thus far. But some examples of quite rapid and geologically significant CC are seen in loss of glacial and sea ice (yeah, not in the Himalayas though) and aridification of tropical areas, esp. the sub-Saharan region. Some places get wetter, some drier. Will it balance out? That’s what climate scientists try to measure and model. Seems to me like they have some ideas about what’s going on – it’s not like these scientists are part of some Illuminati who want to take out oil and coal businesses, they just want to point out what might happen if we do not play it safe and let CO2 levels jump up to 600ppm.

    Also, I’m studying in Maine right now, and darn it where is my SNOW?!! It’s been 45 and sunny for months, and I want to use my season ski pass… Save American jobs, cool the Earth and bring snow back to Maine! (Selfish, I know, but it’s at least 50% in jest.)

  61. Nullius in Verba

    I hate to be a spoilsport, but you seem to have got some of that a bit mixed up yourself. It doesn’t help persuade deniers if they can find holes in your argument so easily.

    First, the evidence that we’re getting warmer does not imply that it is man-made, or indeed is anything out of the ordinary. The question is in more doubt than you might think, although the balance of evidence is that the mean global temperature anomaly has risen over the 20th century by about 0.8C +/-0.5C. But the level of noise due to everyday weather is so large, and the adjustments and repairs to the fragmentary data so considerable, that the result *could* be legitimately questioned.

    Second, the Climategate emails do not speak directly to the science, but to the process by which the science has been generated. Right answer plus wrong method equals bad science. (You have no doubt read ‘Harry Read Me’.) And how do you know that the other “multiple and independent” lines of evidence are not similarly tainted? Clearly, nobody checks.

    The harsh winter being evidence against global warming is a direct consequence of those who persistently and without challenge pushed the line that hot summers were evidence for it. You can’t have it both ways. For myself, I’d say that neither was evidence of anything.

    When you say “The Earth has been warming overall”, what does this mean? The global average for the last 8 years has gone down, so you can’t mean ‘overall’ in the sense of ‘global’. What I suspect you mean is that you are modelling the temperature as a sum of high and low frequency components and your low frequency component is still rising. But does your particular decomposition reflect the physics? And what about yet lower frequencies, that your limited data (1880 is not so long ago) does not capture?

    The reference to tropospheric warming is to the upper tropospheric hotspot, which AGW theory has predicted but which is contrary to the observations. Strictly, this isn’t a fingerprint of AGW so much as the hypothesised strong water-vapour feedback needed to turn barely detectable warming into catastrophic. But its absence has proved an embarrassment to climatology.

    You don’t have to go back to the late heavy bombardment to find times that were warmer than at present. There are the Eemian 125,000 years ago, the Holocene Optimum 8,000 years ago, and at least locally and possibly globally, the Minoan, Roman, and Medieval warm periods as recently as 1,000 years ago, possibly related to the even longer sequence of Bond interstadials.

    “Let’s lock these guys in a room filled with CO2 for an hour or two and see how much life is left in them.” I’ve just seen a post on a sister blog of yours castigating Glenn Beck for “suggesting” climate scientists should commit hara-kiri as some sort of death threat. If anyone were to take that comment seriously, why should we not so take yours? You will no doubt be aware that when people breath out, the exhaled air contains in excess of 30,000 ppm of CO2. Clearly it is not a threat to human health at 400 ppm. Pardon me for stating the obvious, but you didn’t seem to get that “life” meant life generally, and plants as the foundation of all life more particularly.

    The “debunking” of the Oregon petition could be applied as easily to the IPCC claims of ‘consensus’, who likewise don’t describe their definitions, sampling methodology, qualifications, scope of agreement, etc. In any case, ‘consensus’ plays no part in science, and anyone who even introduces the topic reveals them self immediately.

    You do have a point on the ‘astrological’ misspelling. Well done!

    “I have no such agenda, except to speak the truth as I see it.” Neither do most sceptics. Honestly! But people are naturally biased, and your politics affect your stance as much as that of any sceptic. Your views are largely determined by listening to those of the people around you and that you associate with, that you trust and respect.

    I am sure you have read Feynman on Cargo Cult science. I’m sure you remember the history of Eddington and Chandrasekhar. Science is about the recognition of the extreme measures you have to take to avoid fooling yourself, because everybody does. Scientists are human too, and denying it does you no favours.

    Finally, I should direct you to the very important statement by Tom Wigley in the Climategate email 0880476729.txt. It’s a message from a respected AGW-supporting climatologist on the subject he knows deeply. “Your approach of trying to gain scientific credibility for your personal views by asking people to endorse your letter is reprehensible. No scientist who wishes to maintain respect in the community should ever endorse any statement unless they have examined the issue fully themselves.” Do please go and read it in its full context.

  62. tacitus

    Vancouver would have given their eye teeth for some colder weather last week. But I guess since it isn’t in the US, it doesn’t count.

  63. Amazing how many people here are suddenly mushy-middle non-“extremists” trying to chide their host for daring to not agree with the corporate line. Oh, but I forget – anything that doesn’t agree with the corporate line is “biased” and “proof of partisanship”. The only REAL facts are the ones that are bought and paid for by the oil companies, and everything else is just those evil green people trying to make money off this. (Also amazing how money’s bad when it’s them making it – if they even are, since most denialists just claim that without evidence – but good when it’s the polluters grabbing at it hand over fist.)

    Pathetic, really. Makes you wonder if they really believe this, or if they’re just posting it out of some misguided sense of necessity since they seem to think that the corporations will play nice with them if they parrot the talking points. It’s a lot like fanboyism, except it puts us all in danger.

  64. This always begs the question: Which is better, a colder Earth or a warmer Earth?

    One way or another, one of them will happen followed by the other. We might have some influence; nature will always have it’s share. One could argue that we’re a force of nature too. I mean “technically” ya know? :)

    We should take care of the planet. We should recycle; find new ways of producing energy better. We need more efficiency across the board. Those are the biggest no-brainers in the history of the world.

    [and as if this didn’t need mentioning, we need to start working on BEO programs ASAP!]

  65. Josh

    # CW Says:
    February 21st, 2010 at 8:59 am

    Just had a debate with my dad about global warming. I don’t know where he heard this from – but he says that while the ice in the north polar cap is melting, the ice in the south pole is growing. I’ve not heard this at all, but I’m assuming that it’s misinterpreted data. Anyone else heard this argument before – and the reality of what may be happening? Or is it just made up all-together.

    This is somewhat true, but not really all that relevant to the fact of global warming. The sea ice in the Arctic has been disappearing faster than predicted (during the summer) while the sea ice in the Antarctic is more extensive than it used to be after a drop off in 2001/2002.

    http://nsidc.org/seaice/characteristics/difference.html

    It’s important that we keep all our data straight. There are major geographical factors which affect (see, I got it right!) sea ice extent. Whether the sea ice is shrinking or growing on a year-by-year basis is only partially affected by the overall warming trend. Other factors are important too.

  66. Dane Skold

    Phil,

    Since you are a self-proclaimed “skeptic,” it is surprising that you do not view AGW as a skeptic.

    The evidence of manipulated ground station data is overwhelming. The evidence of poorly situated, maintained, and monitored ground stations is overwhelming. The evidence of re-located ground stations accompanied by “adjustments” to data is overwhelming. These are not opinions, they are facts.

    It is fact that CRU, including Dr. Phil Jones and Dr. Michael Mann, refuse to produce the data they used to produce their published papers. It is fact that they refuse to produce the source code of the programming they used to come to their conclusions.

    It is fact that no one can replicate their work or their conclusions. Jones admits that his source data is “lost.”

    Since work based on now-missing “data” cannot be deemed “science,” where is reliable evidence of AGW?

    (And lest you cast up the straw man argument, yes, CO2 is a green house gas. It’s physical properties are not disputed. But so what?) Since atmospheric temperature and CO2 content in the atmosphere are not linearly related, obviously other factors come into play in determining atmospheric temperature. The question is then what impact has man-made activity on these other factors also?

    The anti-thesis of science is to take the stance of “believe me because I am an expert and disregard any data that refutes my opinions and conclusions.”

    That said, there are peer-reviewed papers concluding that AGW is real. There are peer-reviewed papers refuting AGW.

    Where drastic economic measures are proposed, the honest skeptic requires a greater burden of proof than that propounded by AGW proponents.

  67. Future horoscope for someone living on land close to sea level:

    EXPECT REAL ESTATE FLUCTUATIONS. IF YOUR ASCENDING HOUSE IS ARES, CONSIDER UNDERTAKING SWIMMING LESSONS AND STARTING A HOARD OF POTABLE WATER AND CANNED FOODS FOR ADVERSITIES TO COME. LOVE MIGHT BE IN YOUR FUTURE WHEN WIDOWS AND WIDOWERS ARE MULTIPLIED BY CHANGING CIRCUMSTANCES. TREAT YOURSELF TO A PANICKED FLIGHT FOR HIGH GROUND.

    Yours,
    CBB

  68. James Mayeau

    Who owns discover magazine?

    Climategate showed us that the noise machine is in full swing;
    -Phil made that a hotlink to something or other he wrote before (I hope you didn’t quote Seth Borenstein Phil – too lazy to look)

    nothing in those emails takes away from the fact

    There you go quoting Borenstein. Obviously you didn’t read the emails.

    that there are multiple and independent lines of evidence that we’re warming up.

    No hot link on this one pointing us to multiple independent lines of evidence – why not Phil? It’s the only thing worth taking about, the meat and gravy and yet you leave that out. Why?
    Sounding more Barbara Boxer then scientist here pal.

    And the talking heads on Fox and other right-wing media saying that the harsh winter is evidence against global warming shows how dumb of an argument they’re willing to make.

    I don’t watch much tele but what other right wing media is there? I did catch the President claiming that green lawns in Vancouver are proof of something or other, inspite of the fact that VC doesn’t get much snow ever, especially during an el nino. Why didn’t you correct him?

    The rest of the media were perfectly content to report a record setting blizzard as being consistent with global warming.
    What ever happened to that weather versus climate speech we get when a Greenpeace shindig gets snowed out?

    The thing is if you got multiple lines of evidence that don’t rely on Phil Jones, James Hansen, Micheal Mann, CRU or GISS, whip them out. Put them on the table. Show us your stuff.

    Don’t give me empty talk about the mountain of evidence, preponderance of evidence, multiple lines of evidence. I can get that sort of talk from most any democrat politician.
    Well actually that list has been getting shorter too.

  69. James Mayeau

    Regarding comment 61

    Sediment cycles on Mars in resonance with Earth
    Paepe, Roland R.; van Overloop, Elfi S.; Hoover, Richard B.
    In: Proceedings of the First European Workshop on Exo-Astrobiology, 16 – 19 September 2002, Graz, Austria. Ed.: Huguette Lacoste. ESA SP-518, Noordwijk, Netherlands: ESA Publications Division, ISBN 92-9092-828-X, 2002, p. 165 – 168
    After computation of the astronomical Milankovitch cycles on deep sea cores for the last 2.4 Ma the same cycles revealed to exist in land sediment series: Long Term (last 2.4 Ma, Pleistocene) and Middle Term (last 127Ka, Last Interglacial – Last Glacial Time-span) Time Series after cycle computation with the newly developed ExSpect method. Moreover, the same calculation method proved useful for Short Term Time Series as well on sediments of the last 10.000 years (10Ka). The latter cycles as those obtained for ice and glacial lake deposits on Mars could also clearly be traced back in the planetary correlations computed by the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. This points to an extra terrestrial astronomical forcing of the origin of all these cycles on both planets Earth and Mars.

  70. SLC

    Re Dane Skold

    Since you are a self-proclaimed “skeptic,” it is surprising that you do not view AGW as a skeptic.

    Let’s rephrase that a little.

    Since Dr. Plait is a self-proclaimed “skeptic,” it is surprising that he doesn’t view the big bang as a skeptic.

    Since Dr. Plait is a self-proclaimed “skeptic,” it is surprising that he doesn’t view the theory of evolution as a skeptic.

    Since Dr. Plait is a self-proclaimed “skeptic,” it is surprising that he doesn’t view the theory of quantum mechanics as a skeptic.

    Since Dr. Plait is a self-proclaimed “skeptic,” it is surprising that he doesn’t view the relationship between CFCs and ozone depletion as a skeptic.

    Since Dr. Plait is a self-proclaimed “skeptic,” it is surprising that he doesn’t view the germ theory of disease as a skeptic.

    There is a difference between a skeptic and an ignoramus.

  71. James Mayeau (#70): I cannot link to every single lines of evidence for everything. For one thing there’s too much. For another I won’t do all your work for you — of course, it’s easy for you to make noise and sling ad hominems, and hard to actually research something.

    The links I provide go to other pages with far more information. The NASA site linked is a great place to start. Or you could search this very blog for “global warming”.

    And “who owns Discover magazine”? What does that mean? Are you worried they’re a front for Big Wind Power?

  72. Mike Mullen

    Again even if the denialists were correct what difference would it make? Unless their looking forward to petrol prices doubling or tripling in the next twenty years we’ll need energy efficiency and new energy sources anyway.
    And those of the political right in the USA should really look at where the oil is coming from, and whose pockets their lining…

  73. kim

    Phil, James Mayeu has a point. The multiple and independent lines of evidence are being erased in one scandal after another. They are no where near as sure as you seem to think. What do you think is the climate sensitivity to CO2 and why do you believe that number.
    =============================================

  74. kim

    As Lindzen just pointed out, repeated and recent determinations of climate sensitivity to CO2 by observation are finding a much lower number for that sensitivity than the the models depended upon by the IPCC for their much higher figure for the sensitivity. Don’t observations trump models?
    ===========================

  75. Utakata

    @ John #52

    But if the right is spewing out nonsense then he has the right (no pun intended) to go after them regardless of their political points of view. And the right are spewing out nonsense about AGW…let’s not kid ourselves.

    And they are not being skeptical, they are being denialists. That is, even if the science was far more conclusive (and science is pretty conclusive about it) than it is now, they will still be denying it. And that’s the problem…it becomes the “true believer” syndrome that James Randi has talked about in the past. No matter what evidence is brought forth, those people will continue dismiss it as false.

    —-

    On the side, I just want to say…I don’t buy this whole it’s a typo and “a rought draft, they will fix it” claim.While I don’t mind spelling mistakes and other gramatical errors while writing in conversation…trust me, I make many such mistakes. The problem is that this is a proposed legal document. And in the world of legal’eaze…every “i” has to be dotted and every “t” has to be crossed. Because a simply typo in a murder suspect’s name on a court document could have the case against him thrown out of court. Thus it’s imperative that the legislation, proposed or otherwise need to be accurate and correct….

    …because as it reads now that anti-AGW side should be present in classrooms of across the said state because inpart AGW doesn’t agree with some peoples’ astrological readings. It’s an embarrassing and stupid mistake that should of never left the boardroom’s whiteboard…let alone made public.

  76. Dane Skold

    My comment is not some sort of ad hominem attach on Phil.

    I am surprised that as a skeptic he dismissed or disregards putatively reliable data that refutes AGW.

  77. I can get that sort of talk from most any democrat politician.

    Perhaps you should stop getting your climate information from politicians and talk-radio hosts and instead get them from scientists.

    Oh wait, you’re already ruled out any scientists who disagree with your ideological conclusions, i.e. most of them. Convenient.

  78. kim

    Richard Lindzen: “Despite their faults, models show that projections of significant warming depend critically on clouds and water vapor, and the physics of these processes can be observationally tested(the normal scientific approach); at this point, the models seem to be failing”.
    ========================================

  79. Dan I.

    @ James Mayeau

    Not interested in even doing a simple Google search? If you had you would have found this to answer your “Who owns Discover Magazine…”

    “Discover is a science magazine that publishes articles about science for a general audience. The monthly magazine was launched in October 1980 by Time Inc. It was sold to Family Media, the owners of Health, in 1987. Walt Disney Company bought the magazine when Family Media went out of business in 1991. In October 2005 Discover was sold to two media investment companies. Bob Guccione, Jr., founder of Spin and Gear magazines, served as CEO for the first two years. The current CEO is Henry Donahue; the current editor-in-chief is Corey S. Powell.”

    Alternatively if you had done ANY back research at all you would have found that Phil’s views on this subject have NOT changed one iota since his blog became part of the Discovery Magazine network.

    Now you can believe what you want about his conclusions. But suggesting he’s editing content due to orders from on-high is demonstrably false considering he was saying much the same thing while an independent blogger.

    Now are politicians manipulating the science? Absolutely. On both sides of the isle. I firmly do believe that there are simply some “green” proposals that are just too much too fast and will do more harm than good.

    But at exactly what point did trying to reduce pollutants and emissions and increase the efficiency, yield, and cleanliness of your energy infrastructure become a BAD thing.

    Bottom line, whether global warming is happening or not, most of these clean energy proposals and attempts to create higher efficiency engines etc. are GOOD THINGS and would be GOOD THINGS even were the Earth staying at exactly the same temperature or it were determined humans had zero effect.

    The problem is that some people want their big Hummers and their macho trucks and don’t care.

    This isn’t about “exposing the lie” this is about stubborn “Ya ain’t gonna take my pickup away” yahoos not wanting to CHANGE and a sect of politicians exploiting their fear that the “big ‘ole guberment” is gonna come in and take their stuff.

  80. Jeremy

    Why am I suddenly reminded of that old story about the Indiana legislature trying to legally define pi as 3? Even if you’re a GW skeptic, if you’ve got even a shred of scientific integrity you can’t be ok with the idea of a legislative body defining scientific reality.

  81. Tim

    #73 – I have looked for the lines of evidence I found nothing but evidence of warming. Evidence that tells us nothing about how much of that warming is caused by CO2 or how much warming is likely to occur in the future.

    When I look for the evidence that actually implicates CO2 I find a single argument which is basically ‘we can’t think of anything else so we will blame on CO2′. An argument which is as compelling as the creationist argument that gaps in evolutionary theory can be blamed on a deity.

    When I take the time to dig into AR4 WG1 Ch8 I find that a key piece of the argument used to claim climate models are useful is that they can replicate the past climate but the CRU emails tell us that is a mistake to assume that the scientists creating the paleo-climate reconstructions are independent of the modellers.

    If anything, the CRU emails tell use that paleoclimate reconstructions which happen to match what the models produce are deemed to be ‘correct’ while those which do not match the models are presume to be wrong or simply ‘regional’. This selection process means the reconstructions have zero usefulness as a tool to evaluate models.

    The problem is not limited to the tree ring proxies. The long term temperature reconstructions that used to show that CO2 is not correlated with temperature have been ‘adjusted’ to remove an alleged cooling bias introduced by CO2 which effectively adds the CO2 signal to the temperature proxies and makes any subsequent comparisons of the two records meaningless.

    This kind of circular self-reinforcing logic infests and ultimately undermines climate science. From my perspective the multi-lines argument is more a statement about group think and peer pressure than the effect of CO2 on the climate system.

  82. Lonny Eachus

    The very last sentence in the article: “And if other states follow suit, they may doom all of us.” shows once and for all that Phil is hardly objective about this, which is something I have suspected for a while now.

  83. bad Jim

    There’s nothing funnier than denialists, who are spouting the lies fed them by some of the wealthiest industries on earth, accusing climate scientists and their supporters of having a conflict of interest. It’s true that there are billions of dollars at stake, and it’s not too hard to figure out which side that money is on.

  84. Tim

    #82 – I agree if that is what the legislature was doing.

    But it is not. All the resolution says is the discussion of the scientific evidence has been compromised by people with specific philosophical and political views and that instruction in schools should make a point of presenting the contrarian views.

    Of course, the devil is in the details. For example, it would be perfectly reasonable to teach kids about the contrarian views of people like Svensmark, Linzden, Spencer or Pielke Sr. who are all scientists that do not dispute the things that are really known for certain (like CO2 is a GHG) and provide plausible alternate explanations. It would be completely unreasonable to teach stuff is that known to be bunk (solar barycentric motion).

  85. Daniel J. Andrews

    Dr. Plait–you rock!! Your Doomed poster was the first thing I thought about when I came across this legislation a few days ago, and I wanted to ask if you’d be interested in posting something about this–complete with your Doomed poster. Then I figured maybe I should send it to other climate blogs first as I wasn’t sure how ‘off-topic’ you’d want to go.

    When I read it and saw the long long debunked talking points I couldn’t believe people were that uninformed, and I thought it had to be a joke (The Onion perhaps), or perhaps something Beck or Limbaugh or Faux News threw together as a ‘suggestion’ for legislation—they’re not big on telling the truth.

    Another bit of that legislation (maybe someone upstream has pointed it out already) is

    that the South Dakota Legislature urges that instruction in the public schools relating to global warming include the following:
    (1) That global warming is a scientific theory rather than a proven fact;

    It’s just a theory? Now why does that so oh so very very familiar? Teach the controversy. Doomed indeed!

    For a quick summary of debunked (or explained) arguments, see John Cook’s http://www.skepticalscience.com/, and click on the Arguments tab. He has also made an iPhone app so you can have this info at you fingertips. Be sure to follow the citations and links for further information.

    Again, thanks for this.
    –dan (a nosy neighbour in Canada who can’t stand seeing ‘nonscience’ promoted as science)

  86. SLC

    Re Tim

    You mean Roy Spencer, the young earth creationist.

  87. kim

    SLC, Roy Spencer’s analysis of observations is some of the work that is trumping the models. His religious views are scientifically irrelevant to this discussion.

    Speaking of the multiple lines of evidence argument, which is now falling apart, today’s episode is Siddal’s paper of last year about sea level rise. It is now retracted.
    ======================================

  88. Jamesonian

    I don’t know if Phil has read George Will’s column in today’s Washington Post but he should. Mr. Will pokes gentle but firm holes into AGW. I know that this blog is influential in its own way, but a Letter To The Editor or a full Op-Ed piece in response would reach a far larger audience and have more effect than a single blog entry. Or series of entries for that matter. Take your case to the mainstream, Phil.

  89. Moo Pie

    Here’s the funny thing, bad Jim: the billions of dollars that are at stake are yours and mine and everyone else’s. When we look at the projected costs of cap and trade vs. the atmospheric payoff, it does not add up. The Earth is warming. Agreed. The end result is our doom? Still up for debate. The outcomes have been predicted to go both ways, better in some, worse in others. A poorer populace with limited industrial growth will have a harder time reacting to the changes that may come. A robust economy that does not squander public resources on ideas that cannot compete in the marketplace unassisted will fare better should some of the more frightening predictions come to pass. And if so much treasure is required, then the data must be viewable by all and overwhelming. Debate has been discouraged for too long. Some compare “denialism” to creationism. The data supporting evolution are not hidden from the public.

  90. Tim

    #87 – A statement which is completely false. He has expressed support for intelligent design which is quite different and does not seek to replace our current scientific knowledge of the past with something from an old book.

    In any case, all of his work on climate is based entirely on an analysis of real physical processes which means his opinion on ID is quite irrelevant to the discussion.

    As a side note: 5 years ago I thought the rise of right ring religious crusaders were the biggest threat to our society and freedoms. Today I am more worried about left wing religious crusaders masquerading as environmental activists. I see them as a bigger threat because even the most ardent evangelical seemed to agree that I had a right to disagree. OTOH, left wing AGW zealots actively seek to suppress the opinion of people who disagree with the ‘truth’ as they define it.

  91. SLC

    Re Kim

    Sorry Mr. Kim, a young earth creationist has no credibility in any branch of science.

    Re Jamesonian

    Chris Mooney already wrote an oped several months ago refuting an earlier column by wife swapper George Will, who is a congenital liar on the subject of climate change. I doubt that the Washington Post would print yet more retractions. The editorial page of the Post begins to resemble the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, which was nutty before Rupert Murdock purchased the papar and had now gone completely insane.

  92. Lawrence

    There are over 6 billion human beings on this planet – something that has never happened before in the history of the planet. We’ve undergone an industrial revolution, generating untold amounts of polutants over the past couple of hundred years – something else that has never occurred in the history of the planet.

    We’ve adapted to the natural climate – and suffered when the climate changes in ways that we aren’t prepared for – I find it very hard to believe that we can clearcut the forests, burn over a billion barrels of fossil fuels, empty the oceans of major forms of life (in many places), but still deny that we have any impact on the overall climate as it exists today.

    I’m annoyed that, in seeing all of the problems that we ourselves generate, that we don’t want to start taking long term steps to guarantee that our way of life can continue into the future – so, to those that are in favor of doing nothing at this point, at minimum, what do you plan to do once the oil is gone (or residing in the hands of countries that are no longer interested in selling it to us)?

    I’m just curious as to how these very real issues should be dealt with, since it seems like all they want to do is nothing.

  93. Mike C.

    “The best things in life are free
    But you can keep ‘em for the birds and bees
    Now give me money, that’s what I want.”

    — The Fossil Fuel Industry

  94. SLC

    Re Tim @ #87

    It is my information that Dr. Spencer is a young earth creationist and I will not retract that claim until and unless Mr. Tim provides some contrary evidence.

    However, ID is even more unscientific then young earth creationism in that it provides no falsifiable claims. Young earth creationism at least makes falsifiable claims, all of which, of course, have been falsified. The fact that Mr. Tim claims that ID is somehow “scientific” shows him to be either ignorant, stupid, insane, or wicked (but I don’t want to consider that). With apologies to Richard Dawkins.

  95. @ Kim #89
    Siddall retracted the paper because of technical errors in his calculations, so that his conclusions that involve specific numbers were unjustified. It does not mean the sea level is not rising, just that his calculations on the estimated *rate* of rise were incorrect.
    In addition, I would just like to point out that it is disingenuous to, on one hand, say climate scientists are being dishonest, and then on the other hand pounce on one who is being scrupulously honest by retracting an erroneous conclusion.

  96. kim

    Bipedal Tetrapod, nowhere in your hyperbolic post #98 do you refute that his retraction wounds the ‘multiple lines of evidence’ argument.
    =======================================

  97. @ Bipedal Tetrapod #100
    I love recursion

  98. kim

    Siddal could not just correct his paper because the recalculations destroyed the conclusions, which supported the IPCC’s AR4.
    =========================================

  99. @ Kim #99

    Sidall’s paper attempted to estimate the rate of sea level rise. His model placed it at 7-81 cm by 2100. His retraction does not say sea level is not rising. His retraction says the numbers (7 and 81) are unjustified, but *it could be more than that*. As such, retracting the paper does not “wound” the multiple lines of evidence.

  100. kim

    I’m sorry, the retraction of a paper supporting the IPCC’s point of view wounds that point of view. You are being sophistical.
    ====================================

  101. I think this is encouraging.

    It encourages the meme that global warming denialism is in the same cultural cul-de-sac as creationism.

  102. kim

    Let me put it this way. Until yesterday, Siddal’s paper was among the ‘multiple lines of evidence’ supporting the IPCC view that temperature rise was ‘very likely’ due to humans. Now, not so much.

    Similarly, much doubt has crept into many other of the ‘multiple lines of evidence’.

    I’m hoping Phil does answer the challenge above about writing an op-ed. To do so, he is going to go outside his field of expertise, and in order to avoid risking making a fool of himself he’s going to have to look at the evidence dispassionately. I think he’ll find a lot to learn.
    ==============================================================

  103. Guys…relax.

    Phil’s post is about political actors manipulating state legislatures to try and push a scientific agenda, by fiat. It happens often, be it on issues of climate change, naturopathy, or creationism….politics pushing science = not science. Get it? Good.

    This has little-to-nothing to do with the left, the right, or political ideology in general.

    I love the cries of the gross financial conflicts of interest from scientists! If that’s going to be your argument, you have to look at the interests of oil, natural gas, and coal sectors too.

    At this point, it’s getting embarrassing.

  104. kim

    Yeah, vagueofgodalming, but it’s a false meme. Does that matter to you?
    ===========================================

  105. ND

    kim,

    You’re a liar. CO2 is not the only greenhouse gas in our atmosphere and those gases may overwhelm the contribution from the CO2 component. However CO2 is a gas modern civilization is is spewing out independently of any biospheric processes and cycles that the atmosphere has gone through in the past. Your overly simplistic analysis deserves another to show how easy it is to make them.

  106. Tim

    #87 – Wikipedia actually quotes his comments. He has expressed support for ID as a legimate hypothesis and does not rule out accepting evolution in the future if more evidence is found – that’s it. Any other claims are fabrications.

    In any case, a priori rejection of a scientific analysis because the author expressed a POV on a unrelated topic that you disagree with is a pretty ignorant thing to do.

  107. kim

    ND, where is the lie?
    =============

  108. kim

    ND, what do you think the climate sensitivity is to CO2 and why do you think that? I’ll warn you that the prevailing belief is from models, and as I’ve noted above, the models are failing and observational analysis is demonstrating a much lower sensitivity to CO2.
    =====================================

  109. jorge c.

    dr.mr. plait:
    from BBC (link http:news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8525879.stm)
    “President of the US National Academy of Sciences, Ralph Cicerone, said scandals including the “climategate” e-mail row had eroded public trust in scientists.
    His comment came at the annual American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in San Diego.
    Dr Cicerone joined other renowned scientists on a panel at the event.
    ‘Distrust has spread’
    He said that the controversial e-mail exchanges about climate change data had caused people to suspect that scientists “oppressed free speech”.
    His fellow panel members, including Lord Martin Rees, president of the UK’s Royal Society, agreed that scientists needed to be more open about their findings.
    “There is some evidence that the distrust has spread,” Dr Cicerone told BBC News. “There is a feeling that scientists are suppressing dissent, stifling their competitors through conspiracies.”
    Recent polls, including one carried out by the BBC, have suggested that climate scepticism is on the rise. [in the u.k. there are not republicans]
    Dr Cicerone linked this shift in public feeling to the hacked e-mails and to recently publicised mistakes made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in one of its key reports. ”
    well, even your president is speaking about “mistakes” and “scandals”, because you like it or not, they are a lot of mistakes and scandals.
    in the 2007 (2 years ago!!) the IPCC Report said that the Himalayas will melt by 2035 (NASA was more pessimist=2030!!!). when an indian scientist said that it was wrong. mr. pachauri said it was “voodoo science” and of course, as you always has said too, the indian scientist a was a”denier”…
    where were in the last 2 years the skeptics??? because to think that hundreds of thousands of cubic kilometers of ice in the himalayas could melt in only 25 years… only a believer in god!!!
    well, all now known (what about you?) that the IPCC Report was wrong. do you know why it was wrong?? no, of course not…
    and not only that, mr phil jones and his missing data… his violations of the U.K. FOIA laws…
    or what mr ban ki-moon or mr.pachauri said about that africa will lost 50% of its wheat crops by droughts!!!!
    Sir John Houghton the former director of the Met Office, former chairman of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, said in to the Sunday Telegraph on 10 September 1995. in an article entitled Me and my God: “God tries to coax and woo, but he also uses disasters. Human sin may be involved; the effect will be the same.”“If we want a good environmental policy in the future we’ll have to have a disaster.” link http://john-adams.co.uk/2010/02/15/is-god-trying-to-tell-us-something/
    mr.plait, i must congratulate you, you are in good company!!!!

  110. adam

    Why is this: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8511670.stm

    still being ignored? It appears as though only one person has made an attempt at addressing it, and it’s this:

    30. llewelly Says:

    Phil Jones even admitted that the temperature rise since 1995 has not been statistically significant.

    Global warming is a long-term trend. “Since 1995″ is not long enough. Phil Jones’s remarks do not mean global warming is not real or not significant. Phil Jones’s remarks were about the CRU record. The GISTEMP record does show warming over that period, and so do the records of ocean heat content.

    The trend since 1995 has been one of the main points of the AGW apologist community. That’s a major point of the “hockey stick.” But no, it doesn’t mean anything now that one of the leading climatologists admits that the warming trend since then isn’t statistically significant. See how easy it is to twist things to fit your bias? Stop blaming the “deniers” of doing it when you do the same thing.

    And why is the trend of cooling since 2002 considered statistically nonsignificant? Because it’s half the amount of time? Okay. So let’s apply this criticism to the rest of our observations: If 7-14 years is too short of a time to have a statistically significant trend, why has it been used as a significant part of the “consensus” of the reality of anthropogenic global warming? And now that it actually doesn’t show a trend, it’s no longer “significant”? This is such utter crap.

  111. Radwaste

    Hmm. Want to argue? Argue with this.

    And remember: any weather excursion means heat is where it is not usually found. Guffawing in ignorance about how cold it is doesn’t do anything to show you know what’s going on.

  112. SLC

    Re Tim @ #109

    Excuse me, 99.9 % of all biologists reject ID as a scientific proposition. The only biologist that I know of who accepts ID is Michael Behe, whose own department at Lehigh, Un. has disowned him. And Dr. Spencer, who has no expertise in the subject of evolutionary biology is in no position to comment on the subject. Obviously, Mr. Tim is also in that category.

    However, allow me to paraphrase Martin Gardner who wrote in his book, “Fads and Fallacies in Science ,” in referring to Wilhelm Reich, that someone who makes idiotic claims in a subject area in which he has no expertise should be regarded with suspicion relative to his claims in a subject area in which he has expertise. A perfect example is Peter Duesberg, once a well respected medical researcher, who fell into disrepute over his refusal to accept the overwhelming evidence for the relationship between HIV and AIDS.

  113. Hecateus

    @113 adam,
    I have been following the debate for about 10 years now. Climatologists have been pretty consistent in saying that a statistically significant temperature trend is about 20-30 years. Usually 30 years. 15 years is insignificant. 8 years even less so.

    The climate septics are wrongly equating ‘insignificant’ with ‘non-existent’.

  114. kim

    Naw, Hecateus, significance comes from the length of the time period and the data. In other words, had the temperature rise been a little more, then Phil Jones would have been justified in calling the 15 year warming trend significant. Similarly, if the temperature drop since 2001 had been greater, it might have reached significance in these short 9 years.

    Thirty years for a climate trend is completely arbitrary but possibly not wrong. I’m intrigued that 30 years is about the length of one of the phases of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. The temperature trend of the last century and a half DOES show alternating cooling and warming phases, contemporaneous with the phases of the PDO, each about 30 years long. This is an argument for the predominance of natural cycles. And it’s an argument that we’ll cool for the next two decades or so. If the sun gets into the act with another Grand or Lesser Minimum, we may be looking at a century of cooling.

    Phil, what do you think of Livingstone’s Cheshire Cat sunspots, that may well leave the visible spectrum by the middle of this decade. Even the big boys and girls don’t know what effect that will have on climate.
    =====================================

  115. Tim

    #115 Spencer is not producing papers on biology. If does then his thoughts on ID might be relevant. It would even be relevant if he incorporated a diety into is theories on climate. But he doesn’t. All of his theories on climate are based on plausible physical processes and are supported by actual observations.

    One definition of ignorance is contempt before examination. Your line of argument is an argument for ignorance that I have no patience for.

  116. TheBlackCat

    @ kim: What is the doubt about stratospheric cooling? What is the doubt about changes in emission and absorption spectra due to increased CO2? What is the doubt about changes in carbon isotope ratios?

  117. kim

    TBC, I don’t think we know enough to explain stratospheric cooling, I don’t think the radiative capabilities of CO2 in our atmosphere are well enough understood to be definitive, and I don’t doubt that we’ve added to the CO2 in our atmosphere. If that doesn’t answer your questions, then you’ll have to pose them better. I’m guessing at your thrust.
    ====================================

  118. denature

    A clarification. As I write this on Sunday, the South Dakota resolution has passed the house but not the senate. It wouldn’t hurt for residents to contact their state senator. Although the legislature is mostly republican, the house didn’t pass the measure overwhelmingly, and there could be some feelings that the government shouldn’t be legislating content in schools.

  119. TheBlackCat

    @ kim: We can explain stratospheric cooling just fine: less energy is reaching the stratosphere because energy that used to be reflected or re-emitted is now being absorbed by lower layers of the atmosphere. The question is, what is wrong with that explanation, besides the fact that it has implications you don’t like?

  120. Sharku

    Whenever I see statements like: “carbon dioxide is not a pollutant but rather a highly beneficial ingredient for all plant life on earth.” I immediately think of water. Essential for life, yet that doesn’t stop anyone from building dams. GW deniers all seem to think there’s no such thing as having too much of a good thing.

  121. Mark Schaffer

    Kim,
    Who are you and what is your educational background and can we confirm any such claims?
    In the meantime any claims you make are suspect and not backed by actual research but, don’t let that stop you from being disingenuous going forward. Apparently you are suffering from D_K syndrome.

  122. kim

    TBC, consider the records of outgoing longwave radiation, and of the albedo of the earth. I don’t think things are as sure as you think they are.
    =====================================

  123. kim

    Address my arguments, and not me, Mark.
    ============================

  124. MadScientist

    @Phil: “The first is fact, the second is a conclusion based on a lot of evidence.”

    I find that confusing. The fact that the globe is warming is established through evidence. The fact that humans are a major contributor is also established through evidence. Why do you call one a ‘fact’ while the other is a ‘conclusion’?

    Strangely, I’ve met a few marine biologists who don’t care to learn about global warming and say they simply don’t believe that humans could cause any signifcant warming – and yet they are adamant that CO2 has to be controlled or it will destroy the shallow marine environment. So even non-believers (in AGW) believe that CO2 emissions need to be curtailed.

    Oh, I’m all for “balanced teaching” of science, but since there is no evidence that that is not the current case, I see no need for legislation.

  125. Bob

    Here’s a list of some of the recent scandals involving AGW proponents: http://motls.blogspot.com/2010/02/new-york-times-on-ipccs-and-pachauris.html . This is not a “noise machine in a full swing”. This a proof that climatology has a big problem and the least any skeptic should do is to be very critical about anything he hears from those guys. I mean, when some of them escape criminal charges for violating freedom of information by _hidding_ _data_ only due to statue of limitations, it’s should be a wakeup call for anyone.
    Lubos Motl’s blog (linked above) is strongly anti AGW and sometimes too aggressive for my taste. But (unlike most of the pro-AGW blogs), he presents some very convincing data and that’s what I want to see now, when my past trust in climatology was seriously shaken. AGW proponents, including this blog, should really start doing the same, instead of attacking strawmans (yes, laws against GW are stupid. We know. Can we talk about facts and data now, please?)

  126. John Paradox

    8. Katharine Says:
    I just got out of a ridiculous debate at The Intersection where one denialist idiot tried to pass off the magazine of the John Birch Society as non-partisan.

    Technically, the JBS is ‘non’ partisan, though they agree with the extreme right wing of the Republican Party. However, they were long ago dressed down by Conservatives (real Conservatives, that is) such as Barry Goldwater and William Buckley, and tossed out of the old Republican Party (however, they sponsored the CPAC conference, showing that the ‘new’ conservatives are willing to accept their wackiness)

    25. jasonB Says:

    “Wait, what? Did those guys in the South Dakota legislature actually say astrological?”
    Oh my lord, they made a typo!! Throw it all out!
    Can we put the same standard on the IPCC report?

    Seems to be the situation whenever the deniers come across a word or phrase they don’t understand, e.g. the use of ‘trick’ in a ‘jargon’ sense.
    e.g. I use the word “spot”, and people can see it as:
    1)ST:TNG’s Data’s cat
    2)a type of lighting used in theater and TV
    3)a particular location
    4)a small area of fabric or other material that has been discolored or has other material on it
    5) a commercial, public service announcement or promotional announcement that is broadcast over TV or radio.
    I would have probably used it in sense 5, since I worked as a traffic manager at several local stations (and some people would see ‘traffic’ as reporting on how streets are crowded or open, but here it means ‘scheduling spots (5) for broadcast.)

    60. Alexrkr Says:
    Hey Phil, do you know of the youtuber potholer54? I’d suggest posting his series on climate change here.

    First of the series

    J/P=?

  127. Hecateus

    @117 Kim,
    “Thirty years for a climate trend is completely arbitrary but possibly not wrong”

    I disagree. 30 years is enough to contain 2-3 solar cycles, a good sized volcano, and a fair number of La Niña-El Niños. That’s enough to sort out the short term weirdness and show the real trends.

  128. Joey Joe Joe

    @94 (SLC):

    “Sorry Mr. Kim, a young earth creationist has no credibility in any branch of science. ”

    Oh, really?

    So you would dismiss the work of a Mathematician, for example, based purely on finding out he was a YEC?

    What an ignorant thing to say.

    @111 (Kim):

    “…the models are failing and observational analysis is demonstrating a much lower sensitivity to CO2.”

    Do you have any sources for this?

  129. TheBlackCat

    @ kim: What, specifically, is the problem?

  130. MadScientist

    I don’t know a single scientist who calls CO2 “the gas of life”. CO2 is a pretty good asphyxiant thanks to the fact that it binds to hemoglobin so much better than oxygen does (roughly a factor of 4 times better). In fact CO2 is used as a non-toxic fumigant for pest control in granaries (and other places).

    @Bob #128: You’re confusing the established facts (human contributions to observed warming) with the voodoo (we predict the end of the world). IPCC has numerous serious problems as a group (for example they are not taking any action to get rid of the scaremongerers and to stick with the science), but the various issues about not bothering to check figures about glacial melt and so on have absolutely nothing to do with the facts that the earth is warming and humans have a lot to do with it.

  131. Tim

    #128 It is not long enough to capture the 70-80 year PDO cycle. Nor its it long enough to compare to the proxy records for past climate change which generally have a resolution >100 years.

    I would say 100 years is the minimum required to meaningfully measure climate. 30 years is a political choice designed to be short enough to make the problem seem immediate but long enough to ensure that climate scientists are retired or dead before they can be called to account for any failed predictions.

  132. Hedgie

    My concern stems from, not whether climate change and global warming are natural or man made, nor whether everybody believes in them. These facts are irrelevant to me.

    I’m more concerned that, the people who do believe it exists seem to be spending a far greater amount of time, money and energy in a combination of 1) trying to quash the other side of the argument 2) trying to educate everyone and 3) trying to ‘reverse’ the global warming trend, and no where near enough time, money and energy trying to find ways for the human race to live through it.

    Yes we should be doing our best to slow it down, and educate but it seems to me that we have been encouraging this green lifestyle for years now, and certainly not everyone has taken it up. Who cares if people believe in it or not, what is this obsession people have with making sure everyone knows and agrees? Just take the smart people who do, and get them working on things to benefit us all and ignore the morons who will eventually be proven wrong anyway. Shouldn’t we be putting more contingencies in place to allow humanity to survive in a hotter planet, as well as everything we are currently doing?

    If they are, awesome, but it certainly doesn’t seem that way.

  133. TheBlackCat

    So you would dismiss the work of a Mathematician, for example, based purely on finding out he was a YEC?

    Mathematics is not a science, so no. Now if a physicist who is alive today is a YEC, I would certainly look at anything he or she says with extra scrutiny, and would not accept him or her as an authoritative source on anything. Holding such views immediately casts doubt on the person’s objectivity and ability to look at evidence, and demonstrates an outright rejection of the scientific method. All of these make any statement or evidence from such a person immediately suspect. The same would be true of someone who committed major breaches of scientific ethics (such as breaking human subjects research rules) or someone with a financial conflict of interest (beyond simply wanting his or her government-issued grants renewed).

  134. Daniel J. Andrews

    Did someone say George Will gently but firmly poked holes in AGW?!
    hahahahahahahahahahahahaaaaaahahahaaaa!

    George Will was taken to task for getting things wrong several times. (non-linked links so my comment isn’t held up in moderation)

    scienceprogress.org/2009/02/the-george-will-scandal/

    climateprogress.org/2009/02/27/in-a-journalistic-blunder-reminiscent-of-the-janet-cooke-scandal-the-senior-editors-of-the-washington-post-let-george-will-reassert-several-climate-falsehoods-plus-some-new-ones/

    Then follow the links in that second one. Having a serious discussion on climate entails knowing which arguments are nonsense, and which ones need the debate to help push knowledge forward. George Will is very seriously discredited (and really–does that need to be said? A columnist without a science background is right and the majority of the world scientists are collectively wrong, incompetent or all involved in a conspiracy?).

    Here are some uncertainties worthy of debating though.
    climate.nasa.gov/uncertainties/

    re: stratospheric cooling

    realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/11/the-sky-is-falling/

    See the ESPERE link contained therein for more information.

    This is the sort of science ‘we’ ;) want to debate, and not the idiocy listed in the legislation.

  135. TheBlackCat

    Yes we should be doing our best to slow it down, and educate but it seems to me that we have been encouraging this green lifestyle for years now, and certainly not everyone has taken it up. Who cares if people believe in it or not, what is this obsession people have with making sure everyone knows and agrees? Just take the smart people who do, and get them working on things to benefit us all and ignore the morons who will eventually be proven wrong anyway. Shouldn’t we be putting more contingencies in place to allow humanity to survive in a hotter planet, as well as everything we are currently doing?

    Great in theory, but how are you going to pay for it? The research to develop this technology is extremely expensive, and implementing is even more expensive. How are we going to pay for it if the people ultimately writing the checks (voters) do not think we need it? The government isn’t going to do it if voters don’t think it is worthwhile, and there isn’t anywhere near enough private money to do it, and it often requires people to buy stuff they wouldn’t normally buy or that on the surface seems more expensive. Unless we implement some sort of dictatorship that forces people to cooperate, the public has to be on board on this. That is why education is so critical. Things aren’t getting done because companies with a vested financial interest in the status quo has convinced the public that nothing needs to be done (as they did in the past with tobacco).

  136. Hecateus

    What Phil Jones actually said:
    http://www.desmogblog.com/selective-journalism
    “BBC: Do you agree that from 1995 to the present, there has been no statstically-significant global warming”

    Prof Jones: Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995-2009. This trend (0.12 per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods and much less likely for shorter periods.”

    It’s the 95% significance level which is what is looked for. Due the the various factors involved in climate eg. PDO, many climatologists prefer to work with 100 + year time scales.

    BUT we are talking about CO2. It doesn’t take 100 years for CO2 emissions to mix evenly with the atmosphere. It takes maybe a year. And it then takes 10-20 years for the effects to wend their way into the temperature record. For questions regarding CO2s effect on climate 30 years is about right.

  137. Tim

    #137 – If the technology can’t survive without government support then it is economically unsustainable (i.e. it consumes more wealth than it creates).

    Our standard of living depends on having energy that costs less then the wealth we can produce while using it. If the cost of energy exceeds our ability to create wealth with that energy then our economy will collapse.

    That is why any CO2 regulation that significantly increases the cost of energy will fail. The only question is how many people will have their livelyhoods destroyed before politicians come to the senses.

    If you really believe that alternate sources of energy cannot compete without massive government support then you should support adaption because that is the only option.

  138. Hecateus

    #139 Tim.

    “That is why any CO2 regulation that significantly increases the cost of energy will fail. The only question is how many people will have their livelyhoods destroyed before politicians come to the senses.
    If you really believe that alternate sources of energy cannot compete without massive government support then you should support adaption because that is the only option.”

    Do you have any sense of how much subsidies the fossil fuel companies have enjoyed over the past 100 years? Can energy as we know it survive without government?

  139. Tim

    #139 Yep. Here is a report:
    http //www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/servicerpt/subsidy2/pdf/subsidy08.pdf
    The subsidies that have gone to fossil fuels are peanuts when measured *per kW produced*.

    If you look at the report you will see that renewables are already receiving over 1/2 the subsidies of all other fuels combined but generate a tiny fraction of the energy we need.

    Renewables are not economic and likely never will be because of the massive infrastructure required. No amount of wishful thinking will change that..

  140. TheBlackCat

    If the technology can’t survive without government support then it is economically unsustainable (i.e. it consumes more wealth than it creates).

    Of course, because, for example, all the computer, communication, internet, and satellite technology that forms the core of the information age and led to massive profits for a large number of companies was entirely developed, built, and deployed without any help whatsoever from the government. You are right, my bad.

  141. Slim

    I find the use of the term “denialist” to be completely absurd and 100% political!

    How can anyone deny something that doesn’t exist. (Am I an Easter Bunny Denialist?)

    When I read this blog and the especially the comments, I found that the scientists presented logical arguments and the ‘politicized’ resorted to name calling and “spewing out nonsense” (post #77) in lieu of presenting a logical argument.

    There is no place in science for partisanship, pettiness, or churlishness.
    Debate the facts & cite your sources. Keep the opinions out of it.

  142. J Dubb

    Man, it’s hopeless. People argue & make decisions not based on evidence, but on some gut-level tribal membership basis. I’m actually surprised that society is as rational as it is… it could be much, much worse and I suspect it’s going to be real soon.

  143. Geophysicist

    I disagree with Phil’s second point, that man is most likely to blame. I am therefore, what Phil would describe as a denier, despite the fact that I am using my critical faculties and scientific training to consider the evidence. Evidence which so far I find unconvincing and not supportive of the hypothesis. That being said. Phil and I should disagree on purely scientific grounds, not on political ones. To legislate a scientific position is ridiculous. Either the hypothesis is correct or it isn’t trying to pass a law one way or the other is just stupid, and only harms those of us who disagree with the AGW hypothesis on the basis of science.

  144. TheBlackCat

    @ Geophysicist: And your alternative explanation is…?

  145. Nullius in Verba

    “Do you have any sense of how much subsidies the fossil fuel companies have enjoyed over the past 100 years? Can energy as we know it survive without government?”

    If people didn’t have to spend so much of their money in taxes, they’d have more to spend on energy. Also, there would be no need to take a percentage to administer the bureaucracy, so it would be more efficient. Subsidies are only ever used when the solution you want costs more than the solution people would pick if left to themselves.

  146. Tim

    #141 – I have no issue with the government providing the initial R&D funding but that is not what you are asking for . You are demanding is existing energy prices be increased dramatically to pay for it. The economy would have suffered if government did that in order to pay for its investments in space or the Internet.

  147. Tim

    #144 – How about we need 100 more years of data in order to figure that out?

    Sometimes ‘we don’t know’ is the only answer that science can provide.

  148. kathi w

    @ 21 CW Today the Idaho Statesman ran a 2-page story about scientists in Antarctica studying the ice, penguins and other life. Yes, the ice is melting and penguins are losing their habitat. Yes, its gotten 14 degrees warmer in the last 50 years I think I read. Yes, this has been the warmest decade in history. This is science. Where do these whackadoodles come off saying it’s only someone’s opinion?

  149. TheBlackCat

    @ Tim: Right, because the government never taxes commodities to fund infrastructure and technological improvement relevant to those commodities.

  150. Tim

    #148 – The antarctic peninsula is warming. So what? Where do these whackadoodles come off saying it has something to do with CO2?

  151. TheBlackCat

    #144 – How about we need 100 more years of data in order to figure that out?

    Sometimes ‘we don’t know’ is the only answer that science can provide.

    Yes, but it isn’t the only answer science is providing in this case. We have a good, albeit not perfect, explanation on one side, and on the other side we have absolutely nothing. We know something is happening, and we have an explanation that can account for most of it (although tends to underestimate the extent of the changes). The other side admits something is happening (after resisting admitting this for decades), but offers no plausible explanation for why. So in such a situation, why should we not go with the answer we have, instead of ignoring the issue on the off chance someone might come up with a better explanation at some indeterminate point in the future?

  152. Tim

    #149 – What kind of tax are you talking about? 5%, 10%?
    No issue with me. The impact would be marginal and the economy can absorb it.
    But will it be enough?
    I don’t think so.

    SciAm had a recent artical that estimate the costs of converting to renewables over the next 20-30 years will be around 1-2 *trillion* PER YEAR for the US alone. At that assumes that the renewables technologies actually worked according to theory (zero chance of that happening).

  153. TheBlackCat

    @ Tim: Who suggested we should switch entirely to renewable energy in 10 years? The plans I saw took several times that at least.

  154. Tim

    #151 – your logic is the same as saying that if the only explaination for an event is that a ghost did it we have to accept that answer?

    I don’t think so.
    Extraordinary demands require extraordinary evidence.
    We don’t have that evidence now.

  155. Tim

    #153 – 10 years was a typo. 20-30 years and that is the time frame being demanded by activists (e.g. zero emissions by 2050).

    You can play with numbers and time frames but the cost is unacceptable and the technology risk too high. The money is not going to get spent and if there is a real problem we need to go to plan B.

  156. TheBlackCat

    #151 – your logic is the same as saying that if the only explaination for an event is that a ghost did it we have to accept that answer?

    I don’t think so.
    Extraordinary demands require extraordinary evidence.
    We don’t have that evidence now.

    This is where the difference between skeptics and denialists becomes most evident.

    Skeptics do provide alternative explanations for the observations under discussion. They may not prove that it was something else, but they at least provide plausible alternative explanations. In the case of ghosts, they may say that they don’t buy it is a ghost because the observations are also compatible with, for example, sleep paralysis, false memory syndrome, or simple lying. They don’t just reject the explanation, they provide a different explanation that both fits the observations and is scientifically valid. I can’t recall ever seeing a case where a skeptic just rejected someone’s explanation without also providing an alternative, and if I did I would say that person is being a very poor skeptic.

    Denialists, however, do not provide an alternative scientific explanation, they focus on attacking the other side’s explanation. In the rare cases where they do provide their own explanation, they either provide a non-scientific explanation (such as creationists), they provide a uselessly vague non-explanation (“climate variability”), or they provide an explanation that does not actually explain all the observations (although it may explain a small cherry-picked subset).

    In the scientific arena, controversies usually play out as a contest between alternative explanations for the phenomena. It is rare, if not non-existent, that scientists just ignore the phenomena and provide no explanation at all for it. The explanation may have varying degrees of certainty, there may be dozens of very tentative explanations, but I am not aware of any cases where scientists, for any length of time, just threw their hands in the air and said “I don’t have the slightest guess what is going on here”. Only denialists seem to do that.

    So to answer your question, if the only plausible explanation is that a ghost did it, then yes I would say we must tentatively conclude that a ghost did it. We need to go with the best explanation available to us at the time, and if there is only one explanation then that is, by definition, the best. We can revise our opinion in the future if other explanations are found, but in the meantime we have to go with the best we have. In the cases I am aware of where ghosts are used as an explanation in practice, however, there were plenty of alternative explanations.

  157. Lawrence

    Tim – what’s your alternative for when the oil runs out? Because the moment countries like China, India, Russia & others realize that their oil-based economies are about to come to a crash stop, things are going to get pretty hairy.

    We should be pushing for alternative energy technologies, as a matter of national security – at minimum.

  158. TheBlackCat

    #153 – 10 years was a typo. 20-30 years and that is the time frame being demanded by activists (e.g. zero emissions by 2050).

    It is 2010 now, 2050 is 40 years.

    The money is not going to get spent and if there is a real problem we need to go to plan B.

    What is plan B, and what makes you think it is cheaper and less risky than plan A? Remember that plan B cannot only deal with climate change, it also has to deal with a finite fossil fuel supply, increasing costs of fossil fuel extraction and distribution, and issues like ocean acidification leading to massive marine die-offs (which will also have a lot of affect on land ecosystems).

  159. Hedgie

    @ The Black Cat – While I understand your point, I think it’s the responsibility of government to make decisions like this on our behalf. Unfortunately the majority of politicians time is spent make sure their voters are happy and they remain in power, rather than doing what is right.

    I’m not saying it is a simple idea to make real, I’m just saying it needs to be done.

  160. Tim

    #160 – the market will provide a solution to the oil supply problem when it comes. I do not believe that there will be an oil shock but rather a steady rise in the price of oil. In 10 years I would be surprised if oil was less that 200/barrel.

    I prefer a solution imposed by the market because it is fair – everyone shares the pain. No special deals for developing countries because of some imaginary ‘carbon debt’.

    Incidentally, national security argument is bogus. If national security was a real issue the US would exploit its own offshore reserves and encourage the Canadians to produce as much as they can from the oil sands instead of threatening them with boycotts because the oil is not ‘clean enough’ (environmentalists seem to think bloody oil from Africa is better than dirty oil from Canada – it is one of the trade offs which makes me question the ethical priorities of environmentalists).

  161. Tim

    #136 – there are physcially plausible alternate explanations involving clouds but it will take 50 years of satellite based data gathering to find out whather they have merit. In the meantime, they cannot be ruled out even if we cannot conclusively prove they have more merit than the CO2 explanation. That is why I say ‘we don’t know’ is the only reasonable answer given the science we have today.

  162. Tim

    #161 – We cannot know the costs of Plan B since we do not know what kind of adaptation will be required. But we do know that many of the technologies that we might need (dams, dikes, water diversions, air conditioners, different plant varieties) already exist and that automatically makes the technical risk of adaptation much lower.

    We also know that a richer society is better able to cope with natural disasters so robust economic growth is probably be best strategy for adaptation at this time.

  163. Pi-needles

    Yegods! 165 comments already! Yegods – seems like this is the topic de jour doesn’t it?

    Off topic (threadjack! threadjack! ;-) ) but in other interesting news the Shuttle Endeavour is heading home but faces a stormy & thus delayed homecoming. See :

    http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=1015186

    for more. Amongst other news sites & the NASA page natch. ;-)

  164. Remember, kids, we can’t switch over to renewable energy for the plethora of reasons why it’s a good idea because it’ll cost money, and the rich people won’t pay for it because it threatens their obscene wealth! And since the only other real solution is government intervention, which is the greatest evil in all recorded human history, it’s never going to happen, so let’s just try to avoid the question by slinging names at the people who are actually doing the research on this.

    Oh and Tim @163 &c.? “The market” is never, NEVER “fair”. That’s a losertarian market-worshipper myth. It is, and always will be, slanted toward the rich who control it. Get your facts straight.

  165. Dave in Alaska

    The Conservatives who worship God are as wrong as the Liberals who worship government, and neither is right about global warming either, as it is most definitely going to be warmer with increased CO2 than without, but the Earth as a biological oasis is healthier with the increased CO2. In the fullness of time, the crust has thickened, volcanism has decreased, and CO2 levels have dropped to near zero. This is not good for total biomass. The recurrent glacial ages have been especially destructive, so if the next glaciation is mitigated somewhat by increased CO2, then we will have performed a great service to mother Earth.

  166. Tim

    #167 – you are entitled to your opinion on the definition of ‘fair’. But we are talking about politics now and not science. That means I am entitled to my opinion too and if I don’t want to support specific CO2 control policies because I see them as unfair then that is my right.

    Also, don’t pretend you would not do the same if some asked you to support a CO2 control policy that you thought was unfair.

    As for renewables, we will switch when they are as cheap as fossil fuels. New technology and rising fossil fuel costs will help close the gap but believing that it can happen sooner if only the government would wave its magic wand is a silly as believing in the Tooth Fairy.

  167. Plutonium being from Pluto

    A bit of light relief on this topic here –

    http://ifglobalwarmingisrealthenwhyisitcold.blogspot.com/

    These are funny if somewhat sam-y after a while but also makes the point.

    Certainly the popular perception on this issue & even in many forms of media seems to indicate a changing of the tide from belief in the AGW Alarmist claims to a more skeptical approach.

    Note to BA – what you have called “fact” here is actually highly contentious and NOT clear at all to many people. Me among them.

    I, for one, will NOT be convinced that the world is rapidly warming at an ever increasing rate due mainly to human Co2 as the Gore followers alledge until the “hottest ever year” records – globally 1998 & USA~wise 1934 – have been exceeded for a few years in a row.

    If the hottest year for the planet was over a dozen years ago -and I think itwas depsite some contention by the Warmer side.

    And the hottest year for the USA was over half a centruy ago – as it was.

    Then surely, surely it is fair to question their basic theory & ideas and be abit skeptical as to whether or not the AGW “Chicken Littles” know what they’re talking about?

    Science is based on evidence right?

    If the evidence contradicts AGW – as does appear to be the case for many people incl. moi – then isn’t the correct scientific procedure to rule AGW has been proven wrong and start again?
    If they want us to believe the planet is getting hotter – let alone that’ its our fault and not y’know the natural cycle that has been going on throughout earth’s history & prehistory they’re going to have to back up their case with some good (non-CRU!) & convincing evidence. Have they done that so far? Not in my eyes.

  168. Jeffersonian

    @Eric 18
    Saying that you agree AGW is occurring and that temps will rise but then saying it won’t cause any catastrophes is like saying you agree with evidence that the ocean contains water but deny that you’ll get wet if you jump in. Are you unfamiliar with the changes that are wrought by a few degrees of global temp change?

    @39
    “Relying on government to solve your problems is just as bad as relying on a god to answer your prayers.”
    Totally absurd. When was the last time God built a new school or signed a UN agreement that benefited trade? Should I only rely on myself to repave the highways in my region? You’re also wrong about governments not being involved with dolphins…
    (iattc.org/IDCPENG.htm)
    …the rest is just too lenghty to debunk.

    @55
    Seriously? You think you can spout nonsense about the Sun and Mars on an astronomy blog??

    @70
    You’re conflating Vancouver warmth with precipitation. Grass needs two things to turn green, one of which is not normal in the middle of winter.
    _____

    The terms “left” and “conservative” are meaningless on a global scale. People act like it’s only the USA that matters in this debate. Deniers have had a heyday since politicians got invovled. Guess what their argument was before it became political?
    _____

    “Astrology”. The wording passed too many readers and editors to simply be a typo. It’s indicative of the level of thinking and experience that went into this resolution.

  169. Gary

    Seriously, what do you expect when governmental (international IPCC and national EPA) entities try to “legislate” draconian measures that won’t end up mitigating AGW anyway? Phil, you can’t legitimately criticize one side for being wrong and not the other. And btw, human influence on rising temperatures has not been proven to be the primary cause of warming. Uncertainty in the data is too great to make that statement. Yeah, I know that’s not the concensus, but it is the fact. And lest it be forgotten in all the noise, the most important lesson to take from the Climategate scandal is that the scientific method has been compromised by advocacy and arrogance. Free the data; free the code.

  170. Paul

    Call me a sceptic, because I am. I have an educated background in Phyiscal Geography, spatial modelling, natural modelling, so I do have some weight in my opinion. There are way too many signs indicating that AGW is blown out of proportion.

    Is it real? Yes. The question is the amount, and right now, that amount is seemingly small. Sceptics want to save the world too, don’t get us wrong, we just don’t want to sacrafice all we have to do nothing. Sure the west and all it’s friends could lower emissions taxes via cap and trade, but what about BASIC, they won’t follow, and they will be the real polluters.

    Green tech just is not ready, we need another 10-20 years before we can assess the impacts of green tech. Bio fuels were pushed, and look how they turned out! More polluting than regular fuel.

    The Alarmist have had the floor for 20 years, now the sceptics are having their say. Trust us spectics, we want to make the right decisions, we just don’t want to be wasteful and hasty.

  171. cmflyer

    Phil,
    You should be flattered to have such science-denying morons following your blog here. Funny to watch them try to debate it at every opportunity, all red-in-the-face. They need the opportunity to spout off against The Man trying to take away their precious, ill-perceived liberties. Boohoo. Here in Montana we have the Little Red Riding Hoodies who love to hate wolves and hide behind their guns. Same sorry lot, all of them. Thanks for all the great astrology here!

  172. James Mayeau

    Re comment 73 I cannot link to every single lines of evidence for everything. For one thing there’s too much.

    Well multiplying doesn’t get interesting until you work up to the twosies 2X2 = 4, so I guess four lines of evidence will do.
    Put up or shut up.

    For another I won’t do all your work for you — of course, it’s easy for you to make noise and sling ad hominems, and hard to actually research something.

    You claimed multiple lines of evidence. That wasn’t me, that was you.

    The links I provide go to other pages with far more information.

    I notice your link to John Cross’ website – Wrong! The troposphere is warming.” doesn’t support the argument you are using it on. In fact it says exactly the opposite. You only think it supports your argument because your are too stupid (or more likely conniving) to see past his strawman. What do you call that in astronomy? – Class ? Class? That’s right. Crashed satellite.

    The NASA site linked is a great place to start. Or you could search this very blog for “global warming”.
    Straight from Hansen – I’m sure if I asked Charlie Manson why he’s in prison he’d tell me he’s an innocent man too.

    You still haven’t chalked out even one line of evidence.

  173. Daffy

    I am not sure what it means, but it seems to be the deniers on this subject who spit the most venom and get the most hysterical and childish.

    Maybe it’s Rush Limbaugh’s example; I don’t know. But it is interesting.

  174. CB

    I’d love to be a fly on the wall when they are talking about the rapture and their duty to help bring it on.

  175. Geophysicist

    @The Black Cat. Any alternative hypothesis that I may propose is irrelevant to my argument which is in agreement to Phil’s post. Legislating scientific outcomes is just stupid and advantages no one. It certainly adds nothing to the debate.

    However, since you ask, I am not satisfied that the evidence yet presented demonstrates that the climate is moving significantly beyond the range of its natural variability, which is immense. The weight of evidence that I require may be skewed by my study of geological history, but my mind is far from closed. My position is that climate is a complex dynamic system, and that anybody who thinks that they can reliably predict its future based on our very limited understanding of all of the various facets of it and the way that they interact is misguided at best. I may be wrong, and as such, I will continue to review the observations of climate as they are made. What I won’t do, is to campaign to politicise this field any more so than I would try to pass a law enshrining Newtonian mechanics!

  176. Geophysicist

    I just need to be clear about skepticism here. Skepticism is skepticism. It is not necessarily just agreeing with scientists because scientists are skeptical.

  177. TheBlackCat

    However, since you ask, I am not satisfied that the evidence yet presented demonstrates that the climate is moving significantly beyond the range of its natural variability, which is immense.

    “Natural variability” is not an explanation, it’s a cop-out. Things don’t just change, something has to make them change. The climate is changing, so there must be a cause for that change. The planet is warming, which means there must be an energy imbalance somewhere. The only options are that amount of energy being produced by the planet is incrasing, the amount of energy arriving at the planet is increasing, the amount of energy leaving is decreasing, or some combination of the three. If you want to claim that humans are not the reason for this imbalance, you must present an alternative explanation that is physically possible, is actually changing over the time frame of the climate change, and fits all the observed phenomena at least as well as human emissions do. Unless you have such an explanation, then no matter how much you might dislike AGW it is infinitely better than no explanation at all.

  178. Plutonium being from Pluto

    172. Jeffersonian Says:

    @70 You’re conflating Vancouver warmth with precipitation. Grass needs two things to turn green, one of which is not normal in the middle of winter.

    Yeah, because nobody *ever* goes & waters their lawn right? :roll:

  179. C Murdock

    Ugh, god, what has my state done? *facepalm*

  180. Tim

    #172 – I live in Vancouver. I normally start mowing my lawn in Feb or Mar. – right after the cherry blossoms bloom. This weather is normal. The people saying it is unusual are idiot opportunists. Mind you last year at this time we had six weeks of snow on the ground – *that* was unusual. People blamed the cold and snow on AGW then.

    AGW is wonderful hypothesis. It can never be falsified by any real data. Call it what you want but it ain’t science.

  181. Tim

    #181 – so you are saying that people who dismiss homepathy as the placebo effect are using a cop-out? Gee I thought testing for the placebo effect was good science.

    The default presumption is any observed change is natural. The onus is on the people pushing CAGW to show that it is not natural. They have not done that.

  182. Geophysicist

    @ Black Cat. Actually natural variability is not a cop out, as climate has been naturally variable throughout its 4.5 billion year history. Equilibrium does not exist. Yes there are factors that cause change, these include but are not limited to: orbital dynamics, solar radiation, cosmic rays, atmospheric makeup, land use, planetary albedo,plate tectonics, volcanism, biological agents and the myriad complex interactions therein which create a complex, chaotic, and unpredictable system. I cannot adequately explain how all of these factors interact, but neither can anyone else. Saying that it is therefore not an important contributing factor is ridiculous. These factors did not miraculously stop in the mid 20th Century to allow for Anthropogenic effects to take over. They still occur, and contribute to natural variability. I don’t see how, mathematically, Anthropogenically contributed CO2 can overwhelm these existing effects. I also don’t see any evidence that current warming trends fall outside the range of these historical changes. The world has been a lot colder than now, when CO2 has been many many times higher than it is now. If I am to support legislation to interrupt the economy, I want to be damned certain that it is based on solid science.

  183. Plutonium being from Pluto

    @ TheBlackCat :

    “Natural variability” is not an explanation. Things don’t just change, something has to make them change.

    “Natural variability” is shorthand for a number of known astronomical, geological, atmospheric and other factors that the Alarmist side does not take into account plus a number of other unknowns that the climate “scientists” totally ignore and overlook in their quixotic quest to simplististically pin all the blame for natural climate change on humans and Co2 instead :

    A Few Examples :

    1. The ice age cycles which we are coming out of both small (ie the Little Ice Age of the past few centuries up to 1850 AD) *and* large, eg. the Pleistocene Ice Age. No human factories belching Co2 back when cave men were around – so why assume its us now? Where’s your evidence?

    2. The volcanic and meteoritic dust factor – post Tunguska event there were “white nights” created all over Europe – that impact effected our atmosphere and was just a small one. Volcanoes and supervolcanoes play a major role in cooling the climate. So is it really implausible to notice the recent lack of such eruptions and guess that maybe that’s part of why we’ve (perhaps) got a climate that’s little nicer and warmer than the cold times of the past? Where’s your evidence to deny this is a factor?

    3. Earth’s orbital Milankovitch cycles and precession cycles. We know these exist, we know they have an effect on climate. Well *most* of us know this – Al Gore & his eco-cultists seem ignorant of that reality! You going to tell me you can disprove the climatological affects of Milankovitch and other Earth orbital cycles? Better have proof of that! ;-)

    4. Solar cycles – our Sun is a variable star – very slightly but nonetheless it is not entirely constant. We know of the Maunder minimum, the sunspot cycles, the various Coronal Mass Ejections that bombard us regularly. Our daytime star the Sun is the greatest source of energy that drives our climate. Would you dispute that? Really??? Do you suggest solar variability & solar cycles have no need to be taken into account & can’t be more important than a tiny percentage – far less than 1% – of Co2? Evidence please!

    5. Cosmic rays and their effect on cloud formation. One idea I’ve seen in a few places. We know that cosmic rays do have an effect this ahs been noted in various studies. This is one alternative mechanism that no doubt operates along with others. You think not? Well, evidnece for that would be …???

    Then there’s questions of how accurate and trustworthy our climate records really are – even without the evidence leaked from the CRU in the Climategate scandal and the now withdrawn badly sourced Alarmist predictions eg. Himalayan glaciers melting included inthe over politicised IPCC report.

    For instance, there’s the Urban Heat Island effect & other methodological flaws that cast doubt on the AGW validity -there are many methodological biases and factors to consider incl. social & cultural factors that we know have warped our past climate records and made them unreliable and dubious.

    A lot of weather stations were and /or are based in areas that have risen in temperature because of their locations and methods of data collection. There’s an interesting tale of the warming Russia created as a “data effect” from when the Russians got a vodka ration if the temperature dropped below a certain point – which, oddly enough, happened a lot until the vodka ration practice stopped with Communisms’ collapse and “Bingo! Instant warming!”

    Can you show evidence that this has been allowed for adequately? That all the records are reliable, all the stations used are worth the time it took to record their measures and not, say located in an airport with heat -refected everywhere straight at them as happened in at least one case! Yes the AGWers will claim they corrected for this? Suuure! :roll:

    Do we believe them?

    Did they correct this enough?

    How exactly did they do this and what are their error bars?

    Note that the burden of proof in science is always on those making extraordinary claims.

    The claim that we do not yet understand climate enough, that it is incredibly complex and varies naturally as a result of many factors such as those mentioned above & more we don’t know about as well, that is a mundane, ordinary and highly plausible claim.

    It implies that we really can’t predict climate, that it will warm and cool as it has always done and we need to study lots more before concluding anything more – and that, whatever it does, it is beyond our control. That is reasonable and rational and ordinary, yes?

    OTOH, the extraordinary claim that a few belching sheep and gas-guzzling SUV’s are going to DOOOOM us all! DOOOM I say! Doooom! That all of the climate change can pinned on one small naturally variable constituent of our atmosphere that makes up less than 1 % of our air is .. well *very* extraordinary and implausible.

    That humans now drive all the climate simply because we’ve added a splash more Co2 (& yes maybe a bit of methane or something else too but you hardly ever hear of that with the AGW obsessive focus on Carbon Dioxide) ignoring all the other possible factors – and all the, y’know, actual evidence.

    That predicts the Apocalpyse of everything if we don’t tax oursleves to economic suicide and revert to living in caves in the next twenty minutes – *that* is an extraordinary claim indeed! (Yeah some artistic exaggeration was added there for effect – but not all that much! ;-) )

    So where’s your extraordinary evidence to show its all down to Co2 and all our fault?

    Where’s your evidence that despite everything else that effects our climate, despite every historical & prehistorical warming and cooling cycle that the climates been through since there ever was a climate that *this* time, this one time in all our planet’s history, it is solely humans that are responsible?

    *If* you’ve got something to say that it had durn well better be extraordinary indeed! ;-)

    Better than anything Al Gore “disaster porned” Mike Mann “hockey-sticked” or Phil Jone’s “tricked to hide the decline” for sure! :roll:

  184. Bruce

    Good idea, Phil. I’m going to contact my congressional representatives and tell them that Utah and South Dakota have got a clue. There is no science behind global warming, only politics. The manipulation of temperature data, the “hiding the decline” in temperatures, etc. totally discredits the global warming hysteria. It’s nice to see that some politicians aren’t buying into the disinformation.

  185. Plutonium being from Pluto

    @ 181. TheBlackCat Says:

    If you want to claim that humans are not the reason for this imbalance, you must present an alternative explanation that is physically possible, is actually changing over the time frame of the climate change, and fits all the observed phenomena at least as well as human emissions do. Unless you have such an explanation, then no matter how much you might dislike AGW it is infinitely better than no explanation at all.

    Bzzzt. Wrong.

    Firstly, I’ve already suggested (#187) a number of better alternatives to the overly simplistic AGW one of “oh its all human Co2 & lets ignore anything & everything else!”

    Secondly, none of what you said there supports the line that it *must* be AGW by human Co2.

    The only options are that amount of energy being produced by the planet is incrasing, the amount of energy arriving at the planet is increasing, the amount of energy leaving is decreasing, or some combination of the three.

    Most likely, I’d think is the second option there – the Sun is slightly warmer or has been, the Earth’s orbit is a factor and probably also the lack of cooling events such as supervolcanic eruptions and Tunguska-type bolide impacts.

    Plus you’re ignoring feedback processes re: ice ages & climate change operating over the VERY long timescale that they do – astronomical and geological cycles are vastly longer than even 100 or thousand years. A measly thirty years? In geological, astronomical and *real* (as opposed to scare-monger) climatological terms that’s not even the human equivalent of a nanosecond! ;-)

    Plus in this longer term picture (that the pro-AGW’s always overlook) the Earth’s climate has probably *never* been entirely stable anyhow.

    Thirdly & finally, that bit about :

    ” Unless you have such an explanation, then no matter how much you might dislike AGW it is infinitely better than no explanation at all.”

    Is utter tosh. Absolute and utter tosh.

    It is a bit like saying :

    “Hey, we’ve no proof this lady is a witch, but there’s no better explanation for it we can think of so let’s burn her at the stake just to be safe!” ;-)

    If you go to a Doctor and there’s a small mark on your leg which you think might just possibly have grown or, then again, perhaps not? …

    … & the “Doctor” suggest his explanation for it is that it must be … arrrggghhh!! *Incurable cancer!* Just because he can’t think of anything better (hey, any explanation no matter how wrong is better than none by you right? ;-) ) and suggests an immediate amputation is necessary this very second!

    Well, you’d be rushing out the door and changing doctors & getting a second opinion – at least – before you’d get your leg sawn off wouldn’t you? ;-)

    Climate change is very much like that.

    We just don’t even know for sure if there’s really anything different, abnormal or problematic with our current climate relative to its usual millennia long cooling-warming cycles – not at all.

    But regardless of that unceratinty, the Gore-ist Econutty “Doctors” are reaching for their “great big Taxes” saw with a fanatical gleam in their eyes, eager for bizarre reasons of their own, to chop off our economy regardless of the true situation and insanely arguing that doing so is a sane “precautionary” measure.

    *Of course* we should get other, wiser opinons first! ;-)

    *Of course*, we should wait and see before taking drastic, needless actions that could harm perhaps even ruin us completely and likely do the climate no good anyhow!

    Until we know beyond reasonable doubt that climate change is :

    a) Actually happening
    b) Causing more harm than good &
    c) Something we can alter in any way

    Then *of course* we should refrain from doing anything silly and damaging to our society!

    It is that simple.

    What part of this isn’t making sense to you? (& the BA too.) Really.

  186. QuietDesperation

    You’re all wrong. The next ice age is approaching. You heard it here first.

    Don’t come looking for shelter and supplies at the Desperation Compound, either, when it hits. We *will* have activated the slicer mines and the maser grid. You were warned.

  187. here

    Plutonium being from Pluto@171:
    “””
    I, for one, will NOT be convinced that the world is rapidly warming at an ever increasing rate due mainly to human Co2 as the Gore followers alledge until the “hottest ever year” records – globally 1998 & USA~wise 1934 – have been exceeded for a few years in a row.
    “””

    Regardless of what side of the debate you’re on, you should really be looking at the moving average not the yearly max. The increasing trend has continued after 1998.
    You can still argue it’s a lower frequency oscillation and not AGW if you want, but it makes a bit more statistical sense.

  188. Reynold

    I’m absolutely ashamed to say that Canadians are no better when it comes to the reality of climate change:

    http://blogs.canoe.ca/corenscomment/uncategorized/climate-change-fraudsfoolsclownstwits/

    http://blogs.canoe.ca/corenscomment/uncategorized/climate-change-debunked/

    Yep, he had Tim Ball on his show…

  189. Phil’s and all the warmists’ stance would be greatly helped if you people would stop calling “denier” everybody and anybody that questions even the slightest AGW claim, instead of trying to push together creationists alongside those simply asking for evidence that catastrophes be upon us.

    In fact, to anybody not ready to denounce all the attempts to hide data, avoid compliance to FOI legislation, and trying to shut perfectly legitimate scientific papers off peer-reviewed publication, I just ask: what makes you any better than the chiropractors that have tried to ruin Simon Singh??

    There’s so much we could all do if we would work together but no, the mere mention of the slightest doubt is nowadays sufficient to be labeled a rabid right-wing creationist conspiracy-monger on the pay of Exxon. And that can’t be a serious way to deal with climate risks.

  190. Plutonium being from Pluto

    One other thing to consider is that even *if* global warming is real then its effects (unlike those of a return to ice age conditions) won’t be all bad & could actually be pretty pleasant at least for some places – see this funny Utube clip :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJUFTm6cJXM

    Hey, you’ve always gotta look on the bright side of life as the Monty Python crew would sing & whistle! ;-)

  191. Ian

    “most likely”?

  192. Gus

    In the interests of balance and objectivity, go read the article at:
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/02/08/andrew_montford_interview/
    Science is not perfect, especially when fame and money and job security get in the way.

  193. Hiram Summers

    Nice straw man argument you’ve set up here Phil. Too bad it has nothing to do with the BAD SCIENCE, BAD SCIENTISTS, BOGUS EVIDENCE, and GRANT GREED. This is agenda driven
    claptrap pure and simple. Take your blinders off, and realize that there is NO Consensus. Unlike Astrophysics, Climatology is a babe-in-the-cradle a long way from being a mature science. Sit down with Geologists and learn about the vast temperature swings in Earth’s history having NOTHING to do with Humanity or CO2. You should be appalled at the data manipulation and outright lies inherent in the pro-Global Warming argument.

  194. Joey Joe Joe

    @194 (Ian):

    I think by, “most likely”, Phil means he read it in an environmentalist propaganda piece in which they quoted some guy who offered it up as an off-the-cuff piece of speculation in an interview ten years ago.

    Just sayin’

    ;)

  195. Jamesonian

    Wow… there’s certainly no debate about the temperature rising in the blogosphere.

    94. SLC Says: Chris Mooney already wrote an op-ed several months ago…

    Um… my comment addressed Phil’s blog posting and suggested that he should make his points in a larger forum. I’m sure that Chris Mooney is a decent and honest person but I’ve never heard of him and do not care what he’s published. I couldn’t care less about this debate since it’s ironically just more hot air. And, by the way, some of the greatest minds in science have had compromised morals. Dismissing a voice just because you disagree with that person’s behavior seems less than intelligent. And casting aspersions makes you seem petty and small while making your target more sympathetic. Bad rhetorical strategy on your part.

    137. Daniel J. Andrews Says: Did someone say George Will gently but firmly poked holes in AGW?
    George Will was taken to task for getting things wrong several times.

    Yet he still sits at the grown-up table while Phil languishes in the blogosphere with you kids. I like Phil and think he should step up to where the real debate is being held (and it ain’t here).

  196. llewelly

    Plutonium being from Pluto February 21st, 2010 at 11:10 pm:

    1. The ice age cycles which we are coming out of both small (ie the Little Ice Age of the past few centuries up to 1850 AD) *and* large, eg. the Pleistocene Ice Age. No human factories belching Co2 back when cave men were around – so why assume its us now?

    Your pretension that CO2 can only come from factories shows you know nothing about climate (or, for that matter, about modern technology; the majority of human-produced CO2 comes not from factories but from coal power plants). The current increase in CO2 is known to come primarily from burning fossil fuels due to several lines of evidence, among them the records of fossil fuels burned, and the change in carbon isotope proportions in atmospheric CO2, which are shifting toward the carbon isotope proportions in fossil fuels.

    In this video Richard Alley explains the role of CO2 in paleoclimatology.

    2. The volcanic and meteoritic dust factor – post Tunguska event there were “white nights” created all over Europe – that impact effected our atmosphere and was just a small one. Volcanoes and supervolcanoes play a major role in cooling the climate.

    A lack of volcanic activity probably did play a role in the in the temperature in the first half of the 20th century. However, volcanic activity in the last few decades has been stronger (example: the 1991 eruption of Pinatubo), and may have masked some of the modern effect of CO2. See here. In the Richard Alley video I linked, Richard Alley explains that space dust (which includes meteoritic dust) has not changed much.

    3. Earth’s orbital Milankovitch cycles and precession cycles. We know these exist, we know they have an effect on climate. Well *most* of us know this – Al Gore & his eco-cultists seem ignorant of that reality!

    Richard Alley summarizes the relationship between Milankovitch cycles and CO2 in the video I linked above. See also here. You have no evidence Al Gore does not know about Milankovitch cycles.

    4. Solar cycles …

    The most recent few decades of global warming are not caused by the sun. The sun probably played a weak role in the temperature rise during the first half of the 20th century, but over the last 35 years the sun shows a weak cooling trend. (Which is not expected to continue.)

    5. Cosmic rays and their effect on cloud formation. …

    There is no correlation between cosmic rays and global temperature anomalies over the last 30 years.

    4 of your 5 attempts to explain away modern global warming with some aspect of natural variation share a common fallacy: They assume CO2 has little or no effect on climate. The physics of CO2 make this extremely unlikely; CO2 absorbs infrared radiation which would otherwise escape into space. Your attempt to attribute global warming to the Milankovitch cycles conflicts with the others, because the effect of Milankovitch cycles on global climate requires that CO2 cause warming; the other known factors (albedo changes, mainly due to ice sheet changes, atmospheric dust, etc) cannot explain the size of the changes provoked by the Milankovitch cycles.

    Furthermore – the links I have used show that climate scientists (and yes, even most of the non-scientists, including Al Gore) do not claim CO2 is the only important factor in climate. James Hansen, Stephen Schneider, Michael Mann, etc, all acknowledge there are many natural factors which affect climate. Climate scientists have gone to great effort to determine what role, if any, these factors play in modern global warming. Unfortunately for those who wish to dodge responsibility, the evidence overwhelmingly shows that human factors dominate the last 30 years global warming. (CO2 accounts for slightly more than half the human effect on global climate). The IPCC AR4 report, which you unjustifiably malign, contains a few hundred pages on non-CO2 factors which affect climate. In other words, your opening paragraph is a giant strawman; it egregiously misrepresents those who are concerned about global warming.

    Then there’s questions of how accurate and trustworthy our climate records really are …

    Lots of allegations, no evidence whatsoever, spread by people who have engaged in a great deal of distortion. In fact, the surface temperature record is reliable.

    … even without the evidence leaked from the CRU in the Climategate scandal …

    A scandal imagined by people who cannot tell comments from code, and who cherry pick and misquote egregiously.

    … Himalayan glaciers melting included inthe over politicised IPCC report.

    I count the malformed paragraph in the IPCC AR4 report about Himalayan glaciers as 3 errors. There are about 9 other errors in that report. The whole report is about 3000 pages. Any entity which publishes a 3000 page report with so few errors should be quite proud of their work.

    For instance, there’s the Urban Heat Island effect …

    Already addressed in my above link about the surface temperature record being reliable.

    As usual, you have no evidence for any of your claims, and there is plenty of evidence against them. I suggest you do some reading and learn something.

  197. llewelly

    Plutonium being from Pluto Says:
    February 22nd, 2010 at 12:06 am :

    Plus in this longer term picture (that the pro-AGW’s always overlook) the Earth’s climate has probably *never* been entirely stable anyhow.

    The fact that Earth’s climate has never been entirely stable is a very good reason to avoid provoking it.

  198. Tim

    #197 – The problem with the IPCC is not the number of errors or how much effort it takes to correct them. The problem is the errors all show an intentional bias towards promoting alarmism. What this means the entire IPCC report cannot be trusted because it is likely biased in the same way.

    These same biases were exposed in the CRU emails and the fact that these biases exist means that we cannot be certain that the peer reviewed literature fairly represents our state of knowledge on climate. i.e. how many sceptical papers were never written because scientists felt it was not worth provoking the rage of influential folks like Mann and Jones?

    Science is supposed to be objective and solely about the facts and data. Unfortunately, those ideals got lost in climate science in mad rush to enrich wannabe carbon traders in the name of saving the planet. If climate is really a problem then it is essential that climate science rediscover those scientific values in order to rebuild its credibility.

    One hint on how to do this: stop talking about a ‘consensus’ among scientists. There are simply too many unknowns in climate to allow all scientists to agree. That means any ‘consensus’ is artificial and enforced via peer pressure rather than by logical argument. I will take the claims of alarmists more seriously I am convinced that there is a robust and free scientific debate. I see no sign of this debate today.

  199. moptop

    Wow, this will sure shut those people up who say that alarmists are exaggerating. Anything is better than to stop exaggerating.

  200. llewelly

    Tim February 22nd, 2010 at 4:14 am :

    The problem with the IPCC is not the number of errors or how much effort it takes to correct them. The problem is the errors all show an intentional bias towards promoting alarmism. What this means the entire IPCC report cannot be trusted because it is likely biased in the same way.

    As usual, this claim is proffered without evidence. In fact, comparing past (Third Assessment Report) IPCC projections to what has happened since then shows no such bias exists. The IPCC substantially underestimated both the rise in global temperature anomalies, and the rise in sea level. It is too early to know whether AR4 over or underestimated climate change, but more recent evidence of accelerating ice loss in Antarctica and Greenland suggest AR4 estimates of sea level rise will again turn out to be too low.

  201. llewelly

    Tim Says February 22nd, 2010 at 4:14 am :

    These same biases were exposed in the CRU emails …

    Actually, the manufactured controversy over the CRU emails shows something quite different.

  202. llewelly

    Tim Says February 22nd, 2010 at 4:14 am :

    Unfortunately, those ideals got lost in climate science in mad rush to enrich wannabe carbon traders …

    As usual, you offer no evidence of a specific climate scientist hoping to “enrich wannabe carbon traders”. Nor do you have any explanation for the many climate scientists, such as James Hansen, who strongly oppose carbon trading schemes.

    Since you brought up motives, I strongly suggest you read The Climate Cover-up, by James Hoggan and Richard Littlemore.

  203. llewelly

    Tim Says February 22nd, 2010 at 4:14 am :

    One hint on how to do this: stop talking about a ‘consensus’ among scientists.

    This is just a retread of the Galileo gambit. Those who contend global warming is not real, not caused by humans, or good for us, have presented no evidence, no logical arguments, and thousands of very bad arguments (many of which are mutually conflicting). Galileo, Wegener, etc, had both evidence and logical arguments (although neither had a mechanism).

  204. llewelly

    adam February 21st, 2010 at 4:37 pm :

    The trend since 1995 has been one of the main points of the AGW apologist community. That’s a major point of the “hockey stick.”

    The steepest part of the “hockey stick” shows two warming periods, one from about 1900 to about 1940, the other from about 1970 to 1998. The original “hockey stick” paper was published in 1999, so post 1998 data was not available. “The trend since 1995″ played very little role in the “hockey stick”. See here.
    “The trend since 1995″ in global temperature anomalies is only a minor part of the trend since 1970, and is thus only a minor part of the evidence for global warming . Finally, the “The trend since 1995″ does not contradict global warming.

  205. justsayin

    What about the fact that we know the earth has changed temperatures for its entire existence, going through periods of hot and cold? North America was once covered in glaciers. Since we know that greenhouse gases didn’t cause the global warming that melted those glaciers, doesn’t that put the burden of proof on the one saying that the cause for global warming has changed? Where is that proof?

  206. Eamon

    Plutonium being from Pluto@187

    A Few Examples :

    1. The ice age cycles which we are coming out of both small (ie the Little Ice Age of the past few centuries up to 1850 AD) *and* large, eg. the Pleistocene Ice Age. No human factories belching Co2 back when cave men were around – so why assume its us now? Where’s your evidence?

    For the large Ice Ages you’ve answered yourself, no need to invoke fossil fuel CO2:

    3. Earth’s orbital Milankovitch cycles and precession cycles. We know these exist, we know they have an effect on climate. Well *most* of us know this – Al Gore & his eco-cultists seem ignorant of that reality! You going to tell me you can disprove the climatological affects of Milankovitch and other Earth orbital cycles? Better have proof of that! ;-)

    Do you want to reference some papers showing how Milankovich Cycles are having a major impact on the current climate change?

    As for eco-cultists being ignorant of the reality:

    Filtering of Milankovitch cycles by Earth’s geography, Gerald R North et al, Quartenary Reviews 1991.

    Milankovitch cycles and their effects on species in ecological and evolutionary time, K.D. Bennett, Paleobiology 1990.

    Milankovitch climate forcing in the tropics of Pangaea during the Late Triassic, Olsen and Kent, Paleogeography, Paleoclimatology, Paleoecology 1996.

    Milankovitch Theory and Climate, A. Berger, Reviews of Geophysics 1988.

    High frequency variations of the Earth’s orbital parameters and climate change, Bertrand et al, Geophysical Research Letters 2002.

    Climate. An exceptionally long interglacial ahead? Berger & Loutre, Science 2002

    Et cetera…

  207. JohnW

    I don’t understand how the petition has been thoroughly debunked. The link you provide also provides some pretty good… rebunking? in the comments. Including the point that very few of the “alarmists” have degrees in climatology.

  208. Tim

    202. llewelly

    Your opinion is on whether the IPCC is biased is frankly irrelevant. The problem is an increasing percentage of the population do believe the IPCC is hopelessly biased.

    Now you can be part of the problem and whine and insult people or you can be part of the solution by acknowledging that the bias exists and it will be impossible to move forward with any climate related policy unless there is a big shakeup of the IPCC and the climate science community.

  209. Scott B

    Phil, do you realize how ignorant this statement is?

    “Let’s lock these guys in a room filled with CO2 for an hour or two and see how much life is left in them. ”

    So anything that I can’t live in a room full of for a couple of hours is a pollutant? Should we reduce the Nitrogen in our atmosphere since we can’t live off of it alone?

  210. Scott B

    @202. llewelly

    Your link points to multiple (biased) articles. Many of which talk about the biases the “scientists” showed.

  211. Eamon

    JohnW@207,

    I don’t think there are many degrees in climatology about.

    Looking at the ‘rebunking’ in the comments od the Skeptic Mag piece there seem to be a lot of lies by omission and a lot of inflation. Look at Michael Mann, whom the climate skeptic gives as just having a PhD in Geology – he actually has a Bacheolors Degree in Applied Math and Physics, a Masters degree in Physics, and a PhD in Geology & Geophysics. And what was the title of his PhD thesis in “Geology”?

    “A study of ocean-atmosphere interaction and low-frequency variability of the climate system”

    Let’s take a look at the Climatology qualified skeptics. Our skeptic replier gives:

    “David R. Legates, Ph.D. Professor of Climatology, University of Delaware”

    But unfortunately we can easily find that he’s a Associate Professor of Geography. Qualification inflation.

    I’m afraid it looks like that point about climatology qualifactions was out and out lies – quelle suprise!

  212. ArchDukeFerdinand

    I suppose when the glaciers were retreating from North America 10,000 years ago you would demand that we put out our camp fires. Raw meat from now on. Camp fires are contributing to global warming. Look we got these huge lakes that are now obstacles to our movement. OMG!

    Duke

  213. Shep

    Although there may be a global warming pattern, there still is NO CONCLUSIVE evidence the trend is MAN-MADE. Nor is there any real man-made solution that will have any major impact on reversing a global trend. In fact, the attempt may destroy the ecomomic welfare of the entire planet! It may be possible (more so in the future) to actually influence localized weather patterns, but we have no way of impacting weather on a global scale. The science community (and DISCOVER magazine) has been pushing the argument for so long now, they fear losing credibility if they backtrack. What the heck is wrong with admitting the science is flawed? Scientists have been proven wrong, over and over again, since experiments and data have been documented. That is what science is all about – verification and validation.

  214. Lawrence

    So Tim, why is your opinion on the IPCC any more relevant that Llewelly? Just because you say so?

    I am all for more research – we do need to fully understand what is happening & what the results down the road will be, so that any corrective actions can be taken as early as possible. We are a very reactive society, but being reactive costs a lot more than any proactive steps that we could take today.

    If the models are right, the science is right, and we are looking at major problems in the future – isn’t it cheaper to try to prevent the problem instead of dealing with the potential aftermath?

    Take Katrina for example – for the sum of about 10 billion dollars, the ACOE could have built adequate levees to protect the city of New Orleans from a major hurricane. Instead, the money was never allocated & we’ve spent upwards of 200 billion dollars to clean up and attempt to repair the damaged caused.

    If we can expand into new areas of technology, increasing the efficiencies of the alternative energy sources we already have, won’t that be a competitive advantage for US corporations in the global marketplace?

    If we do need to switch over to an alternative fuel economy (and eventually, we will run out of fossil fuels), I would hope that we would have the sense to start while there isn’t a huge amount of pressure – because if we try to do the switch all at once, when we do finally realize how screwed we are, it isn’t going to be pretty – and that, by itself, will destroy our economy.

  215. Peptron

    To me, legislating global warming is akin to outlawing germs so that food won’t ever get bad.

  216. John Carter

    Unfortunately you preach intolerance to the ignorant.
    Most of those greeting your spin with enthusiasm have absolutely no idea of the reality of the situation. They are ignorant and lazy.
    You however are more aware of the truth but wilfully distort it.
    Ramp up the disinformation and increase the use of ad hominem.
    It’s all you have left.
    The game is over.

  217. kim

    Mojib Latif, hardly a climate skeptic, has just called the IPCC’s scaremongering a ‘betrug’, a fraud on the public and his colleagues. Hmmm. I wonder if ‘betrug’ is cognate with ‘betrayal’. Like I said earlier, the game’s about up. All you true believers should look carefully at the criticisms or risk betrayal and exposure as fools.
    =======================================================

  218. Tim

    #219 – The kinds of a policies that Llewelly wants will not be passed without a broad consensus among the voting public. It will be impossible to achieve that kind of consensus as long as a significant percentage of the voting public see the IPCC as biased.

    It is *impossible* to do anything about CO2. The technology does not exist or is too expensive to deployed at the scale required. Adaptation is the only option if there really is a serious problem and every cent wasted on windmills is money better spent shoring up the levees in places like New Orleans.

    Looking for efficiency gains are an illusion unless there is some new technology like LED lights. In those cases the market will drive the switch anyways because no likes to pay more for electricity then they have to.

    Fossil fuel supply issues are best left to the market. Governments will invariably screw up by using programs to reward politically powerful groups like corn farmers instead of finding the most economic alternatives.

  219. matt

    hey guys, maybe its getting warmer, maybe its getting colder. we can agree that its definitely CHANGING and change may or may not be a good thing. one thing that we should focus our energy on is making sure that the YANKEES do not win the world series again. Florida could freeze over and canada can become a sauna, as long as the YANKEES lose, the world will be a better place or our children, and isnt that what we all want? :)

  220. David Hoffman

    In other words you are still a gullible fool and not a lying profiteer like Al Gore.

  221. Lawrence

    Except Tim – countries like Russia & China could care less about the “market.” Eventually, if they NEED more oil than they can get through the market, because it just isn’t available anymore, they will find ways to take it.

    That’s a problem & why is it a “National Security” issue for us to find alternatives. If not today, if not tomorrow, eventually we’ll have to do it & it will be significantly less expensive to start looking at it now, as opposed to waiting to the last possible moment.

  222. It is *impossible* to do anything about CO2. The technology does not exist or is too expensive to deployed at the scale required.

    That Professor Goddard, with his “chair” in Clark College and the countenancing of the Smithsonian Institution, does not know the relation of action to reaction, and of the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react — to say that would be absurd. Of course he only seems to lack the knowledge ladled out daily in high schools.

    //echo

  223. Tim

    #223 – National security is red herring. If it was a serious issue then the US would aggressively exploit its own offshore resources and encourage the development of Canadian oil sands.

    Russia is facing a demographic collapse in the next 20 years. It won’t be going to war with anyone. China is in a similar situation. Nukes are a good deterrant.

    In any case, people are always looking for alternatives to oil because there are riches to be made if someone can find one. The problem is there are not any real alternatives and that is not going to change because government wants it to change.

    Our only real hope is a break through technology like bio fuel algea.

    Incidently, do you realize that 90% of the world supply of rare earths are in China? These elements are essential to making the hitech parts that alternate energy technologies need. These supply problems are already hurting Japanese car makers who are forced to buy the material they need on the black market because China refuses to export the stuff.

    IOW – replacing oil will not end conflict over resources. it will simply change the source of conflict.

  224. QuietDesperation

    “Let’s lock these guys in a room filled with CO2 for an hour or two and see how much life is left in them. ”

    Or lock them in a room with that terrible pollutant dihydrogen monoxide. :-)

    Or lock a bunch of plants in a room *without* CO2.

    On the other hand:

    It is *impossible* to do anything about CO2.

    Psst! I have these amazing machines I can sell you that convert CO2 into O2. You just set them up and provide them with water now and then. They absorb the carbon! And the best part is that they are self replicating! You can even *eat* some of them! They are the miracle of our Modern Age already!

    Come see me out back in the parking lot after the thread fizzles out. We can talk deals.

  225. Scott B

    @223. Lawrence:

    The key there is the word eventually. When is that eventually? Also, is it not possible that taking the remaining oil would cost more than using possible alternatives?

    In addition, there’s a big difference between looking for possible alternatives and forcing those alternatives on the population while fossil fuels are readily available. I agree we should be looking at many different alternatives. I don’t think we should enforce their use until those alternatives are economically and socially competitive with fossil fuels.

  226. TheBlackCat

    #181 – so you are saying that people who dismiss homepathy as the placebo effect are using a cop-out? Gee I thought testing for the placebo effect was good science.

    Once again, the placebo affect has a cause. It only happens when people think they are getting a treatment when they really aren’t.

    The default presumption is any observed change is natural. The onus is on the people pushing CAGW to show that it is not natural. They have not done that.

    No, “it is natural” is not an explanation. You need to explain exactly what in nature is actually responsible. “It is natural” is like “goddidit”, it doesn’t actually answer anything. You need to say how nature is doing it, or how god did it.

    “Natural variability” is shorthand for a number of known astronomical, geological, atmospheric and other factors that the Alarmist side does not take into account plus a number of other unknowns that the climate “scientists” totally ignore and overlook in their quixotic quest to simplististically pin all the blame for natural climate change on humans and Co2 instead :

    First, they have been taken into account. Second, as I said you need to show those explanations are able to account for the observed changes.

    1. The ice age cycles which we are coming out of both small (ie the Little Ice Age of the past few centuries up to 1850 AD) *and* large, eg. the Pleistocene Ice Age. No human factories belching Co2 back when cave men were around – so why assume its us now? Where’s your evidence?

    Those changes did not happen randomly, there was a reason they occurred. You need to show that the reason those occurred is also happening now.

    2. The volcanic and meteoritic dust factor – post Tunguska event there were “white nights” created all over Europe – that impact effected our atmosphere and was just a small one. Volcanoes and supervolcanoes play a major role in cooling the climate. So is it really implausible to notice the recent lack of such eruptions and guess that maybe that’s part of why we’ve (perhaps) got a climate that’s little nicer and warmer than the cold times of the past? Where’s your evidence to deny this is a factor?

    How long do the effects of supervolcanos last? As best as I can tell the current consensus is only a few years, tops. Considering they occur on average with a frequency of 100,000-200,0000 years on average that hardly seems to be an issue, especially considerably we have already had two in the last 75,000 years. The last one before that have over a quarter of a million years ago, so based on that we are actually experiencing greater-than-normal supervolcano activity.

    3. Earth’s orbital Milankovitch cycles and precession cycles. We know these exist, we know they have an effect on climate. Well *most* of us know this – Al Gore & his eco-cultists seem ignorant of that reality! You going to tell me you can disprove the climatological affects of Milankovitch and other Earth orbital cycles? Better have proof of that! ;-)

    We also know we are in a cooling portion of the Milankovitch cycle, and we know the changes caused by the cycles are over a much longer time frame then the current warming. So if the Milankovitch cycles were responsible, which they can’t be because they are too slow, then the world should be cooling, not warming. Of course climatologists are aware of Milankovitch cycles and took them into account, but they aren’t the issue here.

    4. Solar cycles – our Sun is a variable star – very slightly but nonetheless it is not entirely constant. We know of the Maunder minimum, the sunspot cycles, the various Coronal Mass Ejections that bombard us regularly. Our daytime star the Sun is the greatest source of energy that drives our climate. Would you dispute that? Really??? Do you suggest solar variability & solar cycles have no need to be taken into account & can’t be more important than a tiny percentage – far less than 1% – of Co2? Evidence please!

    Once again, everyone knows the sun is a major player. All the models include the sun. The problem is that there has been no net increase in solar output over the period of the warming. Of course there is the 11 year sunspot cycle, but we are currently in the deepest and longest solar minimum on record yet the Earth has not cooled, in fact it may have even warmed slightly during the period. Once again, this isn’t the issue.

    5. Cosmic rays and their effect on cloud formation. One idea I’ve seen in a few places. We know that cosmic rays do have an effect this ahs been noted in various studies. This is one alternative mechanism that no doubt operates along with others. You think not? Well, evidnece for that would be …???

    Once again, in order for cosmic rays to be an issue then there has to have been a net change in cosmic radiation over the period of the warming. There hasn’t. So even if it has an effect, which is actually far from certain, it isn’t the issue here.

    This is the problem I was trying to point out before. There are lots of explanations thrown about, but none of them actually fit what we are observing.

    Secondly, none of what you said there supports the line that it *must* be AGW by human Co2.

    Who said this line. What I have been saying all along is that it is the only explanation we have that actually fits the observations.

    Most likely, I’d think is the second option there – the Sun is slightly warmer or has been, the Earth’s orbit is a factor and probably also the lack of cooling events such as supervolcanic eruptions and Tunguska-type bolide impacts.

    Except neither is the case. The sun is not slightly warmer and Earth’s orbit is not changing in the way that would cause warming. Climatologists are not idiots, they already took both issues into account.

    Plus you’re ignoring feedback processes re: ice ages & climate change operating over the VERY long timescale that they do – astronomical and geological cycles are vastly longer than even 100 or thousand years. A measly thirty years? In geological, astronomical and *real* (as opposed to scare-monger) climatological terms that’s not even the human equivalent of a nanosecond! ;-)

    Exactly, which leads credence to the idea that we are not dealing with geologic or astronomical processes here, but something that occurs over human time scales (like, say, humans).

    “Hey, we’ve no proof this lady is a witch, but there’s no better explanation for it we can think of so let’s burn her at the stake just to be safe!” ;-)

    No, because once again there are numerous other explanations available.

    If you go to a Doctor and there’s a small mark on your leg which you think might just possibly have grown or, then again, perhaps not? …

    … & the “Doctor” suggest his explanation for it is that it must be … arrrggghhh!! *Incurable cancer!* Just because he can’t think of anything better (hey, any explanation no matter how wrong is better than none by you right? ;-) ) and suggests an immediate amputation is necessary this very second!

    No, the doctor would probably say “this doesn’t fit with any of the expected results from a non-cancerous growth, therefore we should probably remove it just to be safe”. This is, in fact, what a good dermatologist would do, and I know people who have had a dermatologist say precisely that (or rather, something more along the lines of “I’ve never seen something like that before, and that usually isn’t a good thing”). Amputating a limb to cure cancer is never a good thing, if it is spreading then it will already be out of the limb by that point anyway.

  227. Tim

    #228

    Once again, the placebo affect has a cause. It only happens when people think they are getting a treatment when they really aren’t.

    No, “it is natural” is not an explanation. You need to explain exactly what in nature is actually responsible. “It is natural” is like “goddidit”, it doesn’t actually answer anything. You need to say how nature is doing it, or how god did it.

    There is no ‘explanation’ for why the placebo effect happens. It just does and scientists are expected to account for it – not explain it.

    There is no need for an explanation for why a chaotic system that is never in equilibrium might change – it just does. In fact, the presumption that climate won’t change until something perturbs is nonsense from the perspective of people who study choatic systems.

  228. matt

    hey guys, maybe its getting warmer, maybe its getting colder. we can agree that its definitely CHANGING and change may or may not be a good thing. one thing that we should focus our energy on is making sure that the YANKEES do not win the world series again. Florida could freeze over and canada can become a sauna, as long as the YANKEES lose, the world will be a better place or our children, and isnt that what we all want?

  229. My stance on climate change is clear: the scientific evidence that we’re getting warmer is overwhelming, and the most likely cause is that it’s human-produced. The first is fact, the second is a conclusion based on a lot of evidence.

    I’d say the second part is fact as well. We know CO2 is the driver, we know the past and present CO2 levels in the atmosphere, we know how much CO2 humans have produced as opposed to non-human sources, we know atmospheric CO2 levels are increasing, and we know the documented increase is almost wholly from human inputs and cannot be explained by non-human inputs. There is a deductive element here too, in that the only way you can model the climate to behave the way it is behaving is to consider CO2 a forcing and to include human inputs of CO2. However, IPCC and others, because they are using the ‘preponderance of evidence’ approach tend to be extra conservative and cautious, hence the “is most likely due to …” terminology. To read this as an expression of doubt is missing the point.

  230. Tim

    #234 – climate models are full of non-physical adjustments and parametrizations. Their outputs are only meaningful within the range of the data used for training (in this case the last 100 years). The projections for the future are meaningless.

    They are also useless for attribution since the non-physical adjustments and parametrizations were calculated based on the assumption that CO2 was the explaination for the recent rise in temperatures.

    A nuclear or aerospace engineer who tried to use a numerical models in the way climate scientists do would be fired for incompetence.

  231. Cheyenne

    @233- Um, Matt – NO. It is not good enough just to have the Yankees lose.

    The Cubs need to win the World Series as well. Then we’re all set. ;)

  232. “but the Earth as a biological oasis is healthier with the increased CO2.”

    The Permian extinction, the largest in Earth’s history, is widely believed to be due to massive inputs of atmospheric CO2 from the eruption of the Deccan trap basalts in India. Venus is certainly a biological oasis with an atmosphere of 97 percent CO2 and a surface temp. hot enough to melt lead.

    Keep trying …

  233. matt

    @cheyenne
    yeh i guess i can agree with you there. i also live in chicago, but i was just thinking one step at a time. however, if you think about it, if the CUBS win the WS, Chicago may actually cause a global mentdown which could be seen as global warming. i dont think people would be able to get sober for at least a month if that happened

  234. Geek

    #232

    In fact, the presumption that climate won’t change until something perturbs is nonsense from the perspective of people who study choatic systems.

    No it isn’t, because a system can be chaotic in some ways and predictable in others.

  235. Tim

    #237 – it is only “widely believed” by people obsessed with CO2.

    Scientists that look at the evidence see the extinction as the result of many different causes including a meteor impact.
    http //science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2002/28jan_extinction.htm

    Scientists have suggested many possible causes for the Great Dying: severe volcanism, a nearby supernova, environmental changes wrought by the formation of a super-continent, the devastating impact of a large asteroid — or some combination of these.

    Becker’s team had previously found such gas-bearing buckyballs in rock layers associated with two known impact events: the 65 million-year-old Cretaceous-Tertiary impact and the 1.8 billion-year-old Sudbury impact crater in Ontario, Canada. They also found fullerenes containing similar gases in some meteorites. Taken together, these clues make a compelling case that a space rock struck the Earth at the time of the Great Dying.

  236. Tim

    #239 – The onus is people make the claim that a chaotic system is predictable on some level to prove the case. Climate scientist have not done this. They assume that climate is predictable over scales of 100-200 years. Evidence from the past suggests otherwise.

  237. Lawrence

    Tim – if continued research shows “Man-Made” warming, what will your response be?

  238. Geek

    Tim #240

    The onus is people make the claim that a chaotic system is predictable on some level to prove the case.

    No it isn’t: the onus of proof, as ever, is with those trying to overthrow established theories, whether that happens to be arguing for or against predictability. There is no reason to suppose that chaotic behaviour of some aspects of a system implies unpredictability of all aspects. It there was, the entire theory of fluid dynamics would be a waste of time, for example.

    Climate scientist have not done this. They assume that climate is predictable over scales of 100-200 years. Evidence from the past suggests otherwise.

    I’m not qualified to comment on the evidence, but your dismissal of “climate scientists” en masse would qualify as the kind of extraordinary statement that puts the onus of proof on you. And your proof would have to be extraordinarily good.

  239. Cheyenne

    @Matt – Good point!

  240. kim

    Lawrence @ 241. That’s an excellent question. It admits that perhaps current research doesn’t do so. Let me refer you to my original and fundamental question. What is the climate sensitivity to CO2?

    We do not know the answer, despite the pretense of certainty about it by the IPCC. It is a ‘betrug’, a betrayal of the public to scaremonger us as they have. All we know now, with some certainty, is that the IPCC has exaggerated the warming effect of CO2.

    It is not possible to make wise policy decisions about energy without a much better grasp of the effect of CO2. This does not mean entire abandonment of the Precautionary Principle, that Paean to Ignorance, but rather a much more honest evaluation of the state of our knowledge.

    Truly, despite the insistence of the true believers in AGW, the actual state of our knowledge is that CO2 is most probably a weak greenhouse gas, and we really have yet to find the anthropogenic signature in the temperature record.

    It doesn’t even seem to be powerful enough to keep the earth warm. OK, gameover. You may huddle up to fight the chill.
    ===================================================

  241. gss_000

    @240 Tim

    Argh! Please take some chaos theory before you say that. If you did, you’d know that chaotic is not the same as non-deterministic. Chaotic systems are fully deterministic. The problem is you have to know the initial conditions almost exactly to understand where things are going. That’s why scientists give a range of values and often talk about only what is statistically certain (withing 95% chance) of happening.

  242. “The onus is people make the claim that a chaotic system is predictable on some level to prove the case. Climate scientist have not done this. They assume that climate is predictable over scales of 100-200 years. Evidence from the past suggests otherwise.”

    FAIL on a couple points.

    1. This encompasses the “we don’t know everything so we know nothing” argument. This is like saying we don’t know if the Sun’s energy is produced by hydrogen fusing into helium because we have never sent a probe into the center of Sun.

    2. The drivers of past Earth climate shifts are quite well studied and understood. The periodicity of the Pleistocene glacial cycle is well explained by periodic wobbles in the Earth’s precession (Milankovitch cycles) that cause the northern hemisphere to be tilted at a greater angle to the sun, resulting in winters cool enough to allow snow to accumulate year-round at lower latitudes, increasing the NH albedo, creating a positive feedback loop for even greater snow accumulation and glacial expansion. Yes, details are still being avidly investigated but our knowledge of the large-scale drivers are quite certain.

    3. As Phil notes, at the century level, the veracity of temperature record is beyond question. The only “question space” is the driver. Mann’s hockey stick shows the most recent chunk of the time series (since the mid 1800s) contains a warming that is anomalous for the last millennia. The so-called Medieval Warming is barely or not discernible globally and the most compelling “evidence” for it is based on scattered anecdotal accounts of doubtful utility, and which even if granted suggest a short-term, regional warming centered in the northern hemisphere, and not a global warming.

    4. The term “natural variations” is meaningless since the entire purpose of studying Earth’s history is to identify the physical drivers of variation. This is like saying mountains are caused by “natural variations” and leaving it at that. Plate tectonics offers a cogent and testable structure of explanation for mountain building. Climate science built from first principles, as all climate models do, offers testable and falsifiable predictions. Actual data since 1988 agree with James Hansen’s 1988 modelling and predictions, of which the only fudge factor is the specific climate sensitivity (in W/m2) to CO2 increase. If you try to model climate without CO2 forcing and without the documented atmospheric increase in CO2 over the past century, your model spits out nonsense. If you include it, the model agrees with observation. This is how you do science. Since we already know that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, we don’t have correlation is not causation issue. It’s not like we’re graphing the stock market against global temperature and seeing a correlation. We’re using a proven climate driver against temperature, and lo and behold, we get a fit that is in general agreement with predictions made from first principles.

  243. YellerKitty

    It all comes down to agendas, doesn’t it? What agenda could those who are warning about global climate change possibly have? Are they shills for ‘big environmentally-safe power’? Not bloody likely. Are they attention-hounds who just love seeing their name in print? Oh, sure, that would explain why they devoted years upon years to study, and more years upon years toiling away in obscurity in a discipline that practically guarantees anonymity to all but a tiny, select few.

    Now, on the other hand, what agenda could the deniers and their sponsors possibly have? How could it benefit their agenda to deny something as potentially devastating as global climate change? Let me count the ways. For the über-religious among them, there are several contenders. Those who are opposed to birth control or family planning don’t want to admit that the exponential rate of population growth is an obvious factor, and one that can hardly fail to have an extreme impact on all global systems. It’s not just the oxygen they breathe … that’s the least of it. It’s the effluvia that humans produce and their demands on all systems to produce food, goods and services that throw things out of whack at such an ever-accelerating rate.

    For some of the most extreme religionists, there is the allure of the ‘Rapture’. It would hardly come as a surprise to find that many of those actually view the extinction of humankind as a big, big positive, because they believe they’ll get to play their spiritual trump card and moon their less ‘enraptured’ brethren as they beam up.

    For those not sucked into the religious side of the great denial syndrome, what possible motives could they have? Oh, let’s see … $$$$$$$$$$$$$. Greed, that great anesthesia of principles. What else would lead people to agree to level mountains and dump the decapitated remains into valleys that previously had running streams that supported entire areas, letting their poisonous tailings leach into the groundwater? Or denude billions of acres of trees that previously held soil in place and fed oxygen into the air. Or disrupt other ecosystems with drilling practices that destroyed wetlands or warmed the permafrost and spewed raw petrochemicals into the air? As hard as the petrochemical business sector has fought tooth and nail against every single environmental regulation with which they’ve ever been presented, you surely don’t believe they’re just gonna roll over and allow something as potentially expensive for them as scientific proof of global climate change to go unchallenged, do you? They’ll spend billions to fight it, because they stand to make many, many more billions by having their current practices be allowed to remain.

    When these two juggernauts, religion and big business, mate, their spawn is formidable indeed. Well-financed ignorance in the name of god, telling folks that, “why, no, there’s no reason to be alarmed. Those folks that are talking about this ‘global warming’ stuff are just a bunch of hippies who don’t want you to have all the cheap crap your little heart desires”. They buy up as many types of media outlets as possible, including a major cable network. They start a wild-eyed ‘news’ channel aimed squarely at the enormous percentage of non-thinkers, which tells them that thought is ‘elitist’ and essentially asserting that it’s patriotic to be stupid, and finance it with a lot of other channels that carry some really entertaining programs. And voilá! The perfect platform for disseminating all the rhetoric they please as a counter-attack to reason. The truly sad thing is that there are so many who just open wide and swallow, because thinking is so damned hard, and ‘elitist’, to boot. This is a damning commentary on our educational system, which seems to always be the first place budgetary cuts are made.

    My mother used to say, “It’s useless to engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent.” But if we don’t expose these charlatans, and fight them with truth and logic, regardless of how useless it may feel, then we will have been accomplices in the calamatous consequences of their greed and ignorance.

  244. fizzyb

    I suggest people who are interested in learning go to youtube and look for the user potholer54. He has a series on climate change where he covers the climategate emails. It’s a tempest in a teapot and does not change the fact – yes, the fact – that the earth is warming. NOAA climate records are pretty conclusive on that fact.

  245. Tim

    #242 – I already agree that some of the warming is man made. What I don’t agree on is the magnitude of the future warming or the likely consequences. The only way to deal with the uncertainty that exists now is to wait for more data. If we see significant warming over the next 10 years then I would likely accept IPCC claims as nominally correct. If current trends continue (small or non-existent warming) then I see that as evidence that the CO2 effect has been exgarrated.

  246. gss_000

    Good job, Doug Watts. And before anyone says again “We don’t know” and “We can’t predict, check out actual temperatures versus the models:

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/12/07/riddle-me-this/

  247. kim

    Doug Watts @ #246: Your #3 with the Piltdown Mann’s Crook’d Hockey Stick makes me doubt everything you say. Did you not hear me say ‘Game Over’. Ask Ian Jolliffe. I’d penalize you but I’m not sure your foul was deliberate. I’d prefer to ascribe it to blind foolish faith.
    ===================================================

  248. kim

    And oh how naive you are, Doug about Hansen’s modeling predictions. They have failed, as have all the global climate models.
    ===================================

  249. ND

    Kim:
    “Did you not hear me say ‘Game Over’. ”

    That’s just means you’re all talk and exaggeration and a troll to boot.

    I looked up Mojib Latif and here’s an article where he’s discussing misrepresentation of his work:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jan/11/climate-change-global-warming-mojib-latif

    It’s dated jan 11 2010 and he clearly point out that man-made global warming is real. He discusses how other factors and can negate it for some periods in cyclical fashion. You’re trying to discredit AGW by quote mining his words and using his reputation.

    If I may make a choice quote myself from the article:

    “Latif said his research suggested that up to half the warming seen over the 20th century was down to this natural ocean effect, but said that was consistent with the 2007 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “No climate specialist would ever say that 100% of the warming we have seen is down to greenhouse gas emissions.””

  250. kim

    YellerKitty @ #248 It’s more than I can bear to endure your incantations to the end, but please ask yourself this: Why would the IPCC betray the public?
    ===================================

  251. Katharine

    kim, your ignorance is staggering, especially of statistics.

    In regard to Phil Jones, he asserted that in 15 years the data was not at the 95% confidence interval. It is impossible for data on global warming, given the sheer amount of noise, to reach the 95% confidence interval for either warming or non-warming. Phil Jones thinks the earth is warming. Perhaps it has reached the 80% confidence interval.

    The models haven’t failed. You just can’t interpret them, because you, and the rest of the global warming denialists, have no grasp of the science or the statistics required to interpret the data.

  252. kim

    Katharine, keep talking.
    ==============

  253. Tim

    #247 –

    1) Weather is chaotic and cannot be predicted for more than a few days at a time because small errors in the initial values cause huge divergence in the outcomes. Climate is the sum of weather and is also chaotic for that reason. Climate modellers believe they can predict climate because they can predict changes in the system bounds but that presumes they know where the boundaries are today. I don’t think they do because we don’t have the data that would allow anyone to reliably make that determination.

    2) All paleo analysis depend on a huge number assumptions that cannot be verified For example, data tells us that the earth cloud albedo increased around 2000 but we have no explanation. Given the evidence of those kinds of changes it impossible to claim that cloud albedo was a constant during glaciations which means clouds could have a much larger role then they are now claimed to have.

    3) The MWP is strongly expressed in the northern hemisphere and there is some evidence for it in the southern hemisphere. We cannot rule out a global MWP that was global and warmer than today. In fact, Phil Jones admitted this in a recent BBC interview.

    4) We are in a period of time where the trends are diverging from the trends predicted by the models. It could be a temporary thing or it could mean that the models are wrong. It will take another 10 years of data to determine which. I think we can wait and see.

  254. kim

    That said, Katharine, I’ll admit I’m as ignorant of statistics as it is possible to be after having read climateaudit.org regularly for four years.
    ===================================

  255. Tim

    #248 – CAGW has become a religous belief system for many people. This has led to all kinds of abuses of science as people seek to rationlize their belief system.

  256. kim

    I think I’ve never heard so loud
    The quiet message in a cloud.
    ==================

  257. gss_000

    Tim, you’re wrong on a few counts

    1) Because climate is an average, its smooths out a lot of the uncertainty that rises from day to day in weather predictions. You can actually make longer term predictions because of it. It’s still sensitive, but not as sensitive as you imply

    3) Jones was saying the MWP was uncertain as a global phenomenon at all. He also said, “On the other hand, if the MWP was global, but was less warm that today, then current warmth would be unprecedented. … We cannot, therefore, make the assumption that temperatures in the global average will be similar to those in the northern hemisphere.”
    Jones was talking about uncertainty on all counts, not just that it was only in the Northern Hemisphere.

    4) Wrong. The temps are still within what the models predict. See my above post. The models so far are not totally off.

  258. kim

    gss @ #261 Of course the models are not totally off, merely generally disconfirmed at the 95% confidence level. And Phil Jones is remarkably forthcoming now about the uncertainty in it all. This is what Mojib Latif is talking about when he speaks of the betrayal of the public by the IPCC. The science is not settled.

    And Tim is exactly right above; it’ll take another 10 years to really judge the models, but every year makes it just that much harder for them to ever be validated.
    =================================

  259. Tim

    #261 –

    1) the earth is a non-linear system that is never in equilibrium. There is no meaningful average weather. The only thing that models can do is predict changes in the boundaries of the system. But they can’t do that unless they know what the boundaries are today.

    2) Jones acknowledged the uncertainty which cuts both ways. It does not mean there was a a global MWP but it also makes it clear that their could have been.

    3) The are different ways to test models against actual data. The way you are doing is the most useless since the envelope is so large it will take another 20-30 years to rule out other hypotheses such as a zero trend. Other tests show the models are 95% likely to be overpredicting the trend. It will only take 10 years or so to determine if this descrepancy is real or not because the test is stronger. I am willing to wait 20-30 years to validate the models based on your definition – are you?

  260. *sigh* I still don’t understand the Anti-AGW position.

    Saving our planet… is… a bad thing?
    Let’s sit on our asses and hope science is wrong?
    We can’t reallocate funds from the important wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, so screw the Earth?

    I mean really, what is so bad about a ‘green’ ideal?

  261. Tim

    #265

    1) The planet not in any danger. It has been warmer in the past and the CO2 levels have been much higher. AGW is a human economic problem.

    2) Since AGW is only a human economic problem all actions must be weighed against the economic costs associated with those actions.

    3) The alternate technologies do not exist today at a cost that is affordable. That means any action to reduce CO2 will be ineffective and a waste of resources.

    4) If/when someone discovers a renewable technology that can complete with fossil fuels there will be no need for a government mandate. It will take over on its own.

  262. QuietDesperation

    Venus is certainly a biological oasis with an atmosphere of 97 percent CO2 and a surface temp. hot enough to melt lead. Keep trying …

    Absolutely LOL! Geez, I love these debates.

    Debater #1: An extra glass of water would be refreshing and hydrating!
    Debater #2: Yes, and 50 million gallons of water dumped on your head would drown you!
    Debater #1: o_O

    Ah, it’ll be a shame when the coming ice age condemns the lot of you to a slow, miserable death. :-)

  263. Dave in Alaska

    When reasonable evidence that global warming is bad is presented, then we should consider how to counter it. Unfortunately, reasonable evidence has not been presented that global warming is bad for the Earth. The primary evidence of global warming is that it is overwhelmingly good and results in increased biomass.

    Since the Earth will slowly change (in a human timescale) to a slight increase in sea level and a larger temperate climate zone, then it behooves humans to adjust to the changing shorelines and take advantage of the better crop conditions in some areas while mitigating adverse effects in others.

    Denying that GW is real or that GW is beneficial is equally foolish.

  264. @Tim (266):

    Well, none of those actually answered my point, and I’d definitely choose to disagree with you on your first statement there – not just from a global warming perspective.

    Environmental consciousness (‘green ideals’) is a good thing. We clear-cut way too much forest land, we’re destroying ecosystems constantly, our waterways are choked with trash and pollutants, and our cities and towns are being flooded with dangerous smog and pollution.

    Anti AGW seems to be just the next step in the whole thing. Those who seek to gain something through the destruction of the environment are the only ones speaking out against its preservation.

    You’d have to be ignorant to think that humans don’t have a major effect on our planet. Is a little environmental responsibility too much to handle?

  265. gss_000

    @263 kim

    Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

    I don’t have a problem with Jones’ statement. In fact, it’s basically what every climatologist has been saying to everyone who claims there has been cooling since 1998: its too soon to say with statistical accuracy. Tamino on his Open Mind site did an analysis (with that strange concept called “math” that deniers never seem to believe) that showed that at a minimum you’d need fifteen years of data. If you actually read Jones interview instead echoing back other’s opinion you’d see in the next sentence he said:

    “B – Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming

    Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods. ”

    This is what frustrates me the most about deniers. Time and time again you find the one sentence that reinforces your belief that is not based on facts, and then harp it around, forgetting to read on and understand the entire point. Learn some reading comprehension and stop being so arrogant.

    @Tim

    Your answers are nonsense

    1) What is climate then? Are you saying when I go to the northern US I shouldn’t expect it to be cold in the winter with snow and warm in the summer? That’s dumb.

    2) Right. So you can’t make any conclusions. The MWP is a canard and should be dropped.

    3) What tests, you’ve said nothing here. Deniers have a fundamental misunderstanding about what science and theories can and can’t do. Guess what? They will be wrong sometimes and in some parts. In terms of whether climate change is happening they aren’t, but they can be corrected in those parts that they are. That’s why I’ll take what real scientists say over the echo chamber any day, because they are willing to refine and review where needed. I’ve never seen a denier do that.

    And I don’t need to wait any longer because there’s more than just the temperature data to show that this is happening. Look at glaciers. Look at ice packs. Look at migration patterns. Look at birthing rates. The whole is stronger than your misinterpretations and pseudoscience gobbledygook. Over time the record will just make the case even stronger. But how many decades do we have to do this same tired dance. The same arguments were made about acid rain. You were wrong. The same case was made about the ozone hole. You were wrong. Science prevailed, and was right. Get over yourself.

  266. Queen B

    isn’t Global Warming a bad name for what i understand it to be extreme weather climates? Such as massive rain in tropics, little to no rain in deserts, huge snow in tundra

  267. Tim

    #269 – A city near me is dumping raw sewage into the ocean. Instead of building a sewage plant they are doing CO2 inventories and buying carbon credits.

    It is a travesty for people like me that do care about the environment.
    The city should forget about CO2 and pay for the sewage plant.

    If environmentalists succeed in regulating CO2 the amount of real pollution will increase.

    1) Carbon sequestration requires that 20% more coal be burnt to bury the CO2. That is 20% more ash, mercury and other pollutants that will be released into the environment because of the CO2 obsession.

    2) Nuclear plant produce toxic waste that has to be stored somewhere. Restricting CO2 will result in a large increase in nuclear installations.

    I could go on. But for me the trade off is not worth it. Release the CO2 and worry about the real pollution.

  268. kim

    gss @ 270. I see you are not going to see it.
    =========================

  269. ND

    gss_000,

    your analysis of kim’s misuse of quotes is correct. My post just got through moderation and it links to an article about misuse of Mojib Latif’s research.

    kim is a troll and it’s best to ignore him/her/it.

  270. Kevin @#265: Because there’s money to be made in denying it – both for the ones at the top writing up the talking points, and for the ones at the bottom being paid to lobby. The folks here, meanwhile, are presumably not being paid, but are simply ignorant.

  271. kim

    Kevin @ #269. Believe it or not, some of us decry the madness of the crowd that is AGW belief because it takes energy from many of the very important green initiatives. There is no question that one must keep one’s room clean if it is to remain livable. But you make an unsupported logical leap to assert that those skeptical of AGW must be the ones who want to destroy the environment.

    And please don’t get me started on the damage to the environmental movement from this pursuit of the chimera of Demon CO2, once the extent of the betrayal is widely known.
    ===============================

  272. Tim @#272: Google the phrase “false dichotomy”. Then sit there and be quiet while those of us who aren’t anti-science and anti-logic are talking.

    kim @#276: Be quiet, you egotistical nuisance. You know nothing and show it every time you post. I suggest you go see a mental health specialist right away for your MASSIVE egoism.

  273. NelC

    There’s an interesting article in the Guardian from last Friday, I’ll let the title speak for itself: Climate sceptics are recycled critics of controls on tobacco and acid rain.

    Not to mention this post in the same paper’s Environment Blog: Do climate change sceptics give scepticism a bad name?

  274. kim

    TPM @#277. I understand your need to roar. The pain must be awful.
    ====================================

  275. Tim

    #270

    1) The orbit of the earth changes the boundary conditions. Winter will be colder because of that. That is a lot different than saying climate is the average of weather.

    2) Wrong. If the MWP could have existed then the models cannot be right unless they take into account that possibility.

    3) I am talking about statistical tests which have been used in peer reviewed studies to determine if models match reality. There are many different tests that can be used RC likes to use the tests that make it impossible to claim that the models are wrong but it is also impossible to claim that they are right because the test is so weak.

    4) What happens is we waste trillions trying to limit CO2 only to find that the warming is largely natural and CO2 has little effect? Given that uncertainty the smart thing to do is prepare to adapt because the money will be well spent no matter what the reason for warming.

    In anycase, I find these calls to ‘do something’ without any thought to costs involved to be pointless. It makes no sense to do something for the sake of doing something. If AGW is really a catastrophe that it is made out to be then we should be talking about mandatory population control. If the idea of mandatory population control is not something that you can justify given the risks then you have no business lecturing other people who use the same argument to reject CO2 emission controls.

  276. kim

    NelC @ #278 I pity Naomi Oreskes for her paranoia. I feel sorry for Jeffrey Sachs for his fear.
    ==============================

  277. @Tim (272) and Kim (276):

    I guess it’s just my ignorance of the matter showing – but I would think anything to help the environment (air, sea, land) is a good thing. Clean emissions should be a major goal. I’m pretty certain pumping science-knows-what into the air is a bad thing. We should strive to get rid of ALL pollutants – sewage, toxic waste, CO2 emissions – and strive for a better world in the end – clean forests, clean air, clean water.

    Maybe it’s a starry-eyed fantasy to think of a perfect, green earth. Regardless, the only opponents of AGW in government I see are the same who are willing to sign into law the ability to hunt endangered animals from helicopters (air-based grey wolf hunts.) I doubt they care much about the environment.

  278. Tim

    #277 – it is only a false dichotomy to people who think that money grows on trees. How many more trillions do you think the Chinese will lend the US before deciding to find somewhere else to put its money?

    Economic illiteracy is the biggest problem with the AGW crowd. There would not even be a discussion if more people had even a basic grasp of economics.

  279. Tim

    #282 – So what will you give up to pay for it or are you someone that thinks other people should be forced to pay for your fantasies?

  280. @NelC (278):

    You pasted the same link for both articles. Here’s the link to the second article: Do climate change sceptics give scepticism a bad name?

  281. (Argh, I hate posting multiple times)

    @Tim (284):

    Well, a few days ago, Phil posted a rather stunning post on how money throughout America is spent: Wait, how big is NASA’s budget again?”

    I think, if it were my position, I’d take some money out of National Defense and plop it into Science. We’re spending a lot of money on two wars right now, neither of which are worth the energy and expense that is being put into them.

    Yeah, that oughta help.

  282. kim

    Kevin @ #282. Let us pray. Naw, I really shouldn’t sneer at that eloquent statement. I agree we should make emissions clean. It is an error to consider CO2 a pollutant simply because it comes out of the end of a smokestack. Nature has a marvelous way of removing it; the sun acting on biomass to eventually virtually permanently sequester it underground.

    I agree that we are releasing an aliquot of anthropogenic carbon dioxide. What effect that will have is not known. Let’s find out, huh?
    =======================

  283. Tim

    #286 – Sure – but it won’t do much about CO2. Eliminating CO2 emissions by 2050 will required the US to invest a minimum of $500 billion PER YEAR for the next 40 years and that assumes the techonologies work as advertised (which will never happen).

    We are talking huge sums of money that are not going to be found by moving a few billion from DOD to NASA. Especially with a trillion+ deficit which has to closed. Of course there are also the huge social security and medicare debts that will come due soon – are you willing to cancel those programs to pay for you green fantasies?

  284. @Kim (287):

    I’d like to call attention to this part of your statement:

    Nature has a marvelous way of removing it; the sun acting on biomass to eventually virtually permanently sequester it underground.

    You do realize that by burning fossil fuels, we are actually releasing this CO2 that is, in your words, ‘permanently sequester’-ed, underground? Not so permanent, is it?

    And I hate ‘wait-and-see’ science. It’s better to use scientific understanding to try to cut off a potential problem before it happens. Let’s ‘wait-and-see’ if CO2 emissions will turn the Earth into an inhospitable wasteland.

    @Tim (288):

    I’ve heard so many different stated numbers on how much it will cost – millions, billions, trillions – so I can’t quite respond to that unless you have a statement or document expressing such. If it indeed will cost $500 billion, then no, a few billion from DoD to Energy Science will not quite win the day.

    Maybe 100% reduction by 2050 is an impracticable goal. Working on making emissions cleaner, dropping CO2 emissions and fossil fuel consumption, and cleaning water and the air is probably more viable, and might not cost nearly as much.

  285. kim

    Kevin @ #289. Thanks for walking into that trap. The mere presence of vast stores of hydrocarbons and the even vaster store of carbonates proves that the sun acting on biomass virtually permanently sequesters Carbon Dioxide underground. Note the weasel word ‘virtually’. Man has found a way around the virtually permanent sequestration by recovering hydrocarbons and reversing the chemical process. We are a drop in the big bucket of the carbon cycle. And we do not know the effect our releasing the CO2 will have. Let’s find out, huh?
    =====================================

  286. PiCubed

    Nuclear plant produce toxic waste that has to be stored somewhere.

    No, actually it can be recycled and used in different types of reactors. We could even recycle the waste that has already been stored. This technology exists and is used around the world. There’s all sort of new reactors designs that can use different types of waste. There’s some who think we could eventually set up a cascade of reactor types and industrial uses that reduces the final waste to a triviality.

    That was the biggest disappointment about Obama’s nuke announcement: it didn’t involve anything newer than 1970’s tech as far as I could see.

    A key technology to explore would be extraction of uranium from seawater. There’s estimates that we could get enough to power the world for, well, long enough for it to become a vanishingly small concern. Everything we need to solve the energy “crisis” is sitting right in front of us. The Japanese are the only one I know of researching it.

    But we are not allowed to be clever anymore. We have to sit around and be hysterical and act like the world is going to end any minute now. I’m not a GW skeptic, but the thing that disappoints me the most about the GW side is that I hear basically zero talk about advancing technology or looking to the future. It’s all regressive rhetoric. All about “going back” and giving up so much of what we have attained. It’s defeatist and sad, and *that’s* why it fails.

    We should strive to get rid of ALL pollutants – sewage, toxic waste, CO2 emissions

    To get rid of all CO2 emissions and sewage you would have to eradicate all mammals.

  287. @Kim (290):

    The difference, though, is that we’re releasing CO2 on far greater levels now than has ever happened before. The sun may be able to handle CO2 in its own way, dumping it back underground, but I don’t think in the history of the world, there has ever been a situation where millions and millions of years worth of ‘permanently’ sequestered CO2 has been released in a tiny amount of time.

    We’ve been burning fossil fuels since the 19th century, and our rate of burning it has jumped in the last hundred years. I know nature will be able to eventually handle it, send the CO2 back into its ‘permanent’ storage, but at that time, what will be made of the planet?

    (Also you keep using that ‘wait-and-see’ logic. ‘Wait-and-see’ what, exactly?)

  288. kim

    Kevin @ #291. I agree we are releasing CO2 faster now than it is being sequestered and that the cause of this particular episode of such a phenomenon is new, that is man. But I insist we do not know what the effect will be and we need to know that in order to make wise policy decisions.

    I think you misunderstand the wait-and-see terminology, which I’ve never used. Tim and I have both been talking about needing another 10 years or so in order to really definitively disconfirm the models. We don’t expect you or anyone else to be completely convinced by 95% confidence, though the IPCC was willing to call 90% likelihood settled science. Wait-and-See does not imply waiting until CO2 has doubled to figure out the climate’s sensitivity to CO2. Policy imperatives insist that we find the answer to that as soon as possible.

    Are you revealing an unconscious belief that the only way we can determine the effect of increased CO2 is to let it happen. If so, why do you believe the IPCC has settled it? The skeptics are agnostic; we don’t know, but want to know. Let’s find out, huh?
    ==================================

  289. @Kim (292):

    I guess I’m misinterpreting the “Let’s find out” you have put at the end of every one of your posts to mean “wait-and-see” in which case I apologize.

    If we are seeing that human beings have a negative effect on the environment (we do) and releasing vast amounts of CO2 into the air is causing some amount of global warming (it is) then is it unreasonable to attempt to limit that effect before it’s too late? If we wait ten years, acting in the same way we are now, releasing the poisons and pollutants at the increasing rates we are now, consuming the fossil fuels and plant matter we are now, and find out that the AGW people were right, we’ve now got ten years of possible change on our conscience that we let slip past.

    If in ten years, we find out that humans don’t have as much effect as is stated now, then we’ll have ten years of trying to reduce pollutants and make the environment greener and cleaner. To sit back and wait for the science to prove with 100% surety that we are the cause of global warming, during which time we make no effort to improve our ways, would be completely irresponsible as human beings – the only species on the planet that CAN make an effort to improve our own ways.

  290. kim

    Kevin, no need to apologize; my meaning was not unambiguous, and I figured out what you were doing.

    Your further thoughts are reasonable. I believe that the effect of CO2 is going to be shown to be so small that we will have had the luxury to wait to find out the answers I seek. I base that on our inability to find an anthropogenic signature even though we’ve increased the atmospheric concentration by 40%. I also believe that higher levels of CO2 will induce feedback which will increase the rate of sequestration, thus lowering the residence time of anthropogenic CO2. I also believe we are cooling for 20 to 100 years during which time the minimal warming effect and large fertilizing effect of CO2 will keep millions from freezing and starving to death.

    I find it difficult to believe that we will not have figured out the true climate sensitivity to CO2 by the time we start warming again. If it is a problem, then is the time to act.

    But let’s find out, huh? We’ve very little time to lose.
    ==================================

  291. TheBlackCat

    There is no ‘explanation’ for why the placebo effect happens. It just does and scientists are expected to account for it – not explain it.

    Yes, there are actually several. For one thing, it can likely be triggered by a simply reduction in stress, which moves person out of the “fight-or-flight” mode that is good for getting away from predators but bad for healing. Second, there is strong evidence that it can trigger the endogenous opiod system, which is the body’s natural pain-fighting system. Third, people have the tendency to credit treatments for naturally self-limiting problems like colds or headaches. And finally, people will often interpret the same events differently depending on their expectations. One or all of these can result in the observed placebo affect (although the opiod system only applies to pain management, this is also one condition where the placebo effect is particularly pronounced).

    There is no need for an explanation for why a chaotic system that is never in equilibrium might change – it just does. In fact, the presumption that climate won’t change until something perturbs is nonsense from the perspective of people who study choatic systems.

    Even if the climate is chaotic, there still has to be something that triggers an energy imbalance. Some component of the climate must have changed to trigger the energy imbalance. Energy does not just appear or disappear out of thing air, it has to come from or go somewhere.

    If you think it is just natural variability you still need to describe what, specifically, is varying that results in the energy imbalance. First, you must show that it can cause an energy imbalance of the sort we see, second you need to show that it actually is varying in the correct direction over the time period in question. All the non-anthropogenic explanations I have seen are either much smaller than human sources (such as volcanic CO2), not varying in the correct direction (orbital cycles), or not varying at all (solar output and cosmic radiation).

  292. G Williams

    @396 The BlackCat

    My understanding of how Chaos Theory applies to the current situation is that, the ‘energy imbalance’ is an inherent property of the system and has been since the atmosphere first settled around the still-glowing congealed rock that eventually came to be known as Earth. Since then, the system has been cascading through various states, and will continue to do so until a stable equilibrium is reached (I.E. Heat Death of the Universe) no change in a chaotic system is ever ‘triggered’ by purely external events, because the system is never not changing, each shift is a product of the last shift, going back to when the system was first set in motion.

    In a world where we can’t even (yet) reliably compare today’s global average temperature to that of more than fifty one years ago, asking what triggered the current climate shift is like trying to find the butterfly that caused Katrina.
    Human activity has almost certainly played a part, but trying to speculate much further than that is irresponsible, at least until current studies that more accurately correct for inter-data-set irregularities are published.

  293. TheBlackCat

    @ G Williams: But the energy imbalance cannot be an inherent part of the system, because the energy is not originating in the system. Energy doesn’t just magically appear or disappear, almost all of it originates from outside the system. There must be something either contributing a different amount of energy, allowing a different amount of energy to arrive, or changing the amount of energy leaving. There must be one or more changes in the system that results in one or more of these values changing. If you want to say it is just part of “natural variation”, you still have to say what varied to cause the imbalance. Even if the system is chaotic, it still has to follow the laws of physics.

  294. Tim said: “I already agree that some of the warming is man made. What I don’t agree on is the magnitude of the future warming or the likely consequences. The only way to deal with the uncertainty that exists now is to wait for more data.”

    Tim — Your candor is refreshing, but by this admission you concede the game.

    First, to say that “some” of the warming is man-made, you need to identify a non-human force responsible for the rest of it. Saying “we don’t know” is not an acceptable response, since it adds no information. That’s like saying you agree that “some” of the Earth’s tides are caused by the Sun and Moon, but not all of it. You need to posit a really massive near-Earth object very quickly to sustain that claim. See Phil’s “Planet X” discussion in his old blog.

    The rest of your response falls into the “because we don’t know everything, we know nothing” category. For example, we can fairly easily compute the amount of warming that will melt the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and the exact amount of sea-level rise that will result from the melting part or all of these masses. We can easily predict the outcome of the melting and disappearance of Himalayan glaciers on the seasonal flow patterns of the rivers feeding the Indian subcontinent. We can predict the effects of ocean acidification due to the increased absorption of atmospheric CO2 on plankton species which use calcium carbonate to construct their bodies and the effect of the disappearance of these species on the ocean and terrestrial food web. We can already document the effects of global warming on the ability of insect species to invade previously uninhabitable environments, as with the pine beetle in the U.S. Rocky Mountains; and we can see the effects of recent warming on the increased growth rate of aspens in Wisconsin due to increased ambient atmospheric CO2 levels. As Fox Mulder said, “The truth is out there.”

    Your suggested course — “wait for more data” — contradicts everything you said above it. You agree that at least “some” of global warming is man-made but your suggested course is to allow CO2 emissions to increase each and every year until you are “convinced” it will have severe, negative consequences. The only dry ground you have left to stand on is that you are not yet personally convinced that global warming is a bad thing. It would not be prudent for everyone else on Earth to rely upon your counsel, anymore than I would rely on a blind man telling me he sees no flames coming from my house.

  295. Tim

    #296

    Special pleading. There is no difference between your claims about possible causes of the placebo effect and what I said about cloud cover.

    The fact is cloud cover does vary over periods of decades or more. This has been measured but not explained. Changing clouds changes the radiation imbalance and can cause the planet to warm or cool. Clouds are chaotic so there is no reason to assume that changes are actually triggered by anything – they just happen.

    That I why I say we been 50-100 years of satellite measurements to properly characterize these long term changes in cloud cover.

  296. The planet not in any danger. It has been warmer in the past and the CO2 levels have been much higher. AGW is a human economic problem.

    Yes, of course, the “planet” will survive, in the sense that it is a giant oblate sphere of mafic and felsic rock held together by gravity, like Venus or Mercury or Mars.

    And yes, some microbial life on Earth will survive, given the ability of extremophile microbes to live in extreme temperatures and pressures and anaerobic and and/or caustic and acidic environments which are deadly to almost all other forms of Earth life.

    Is that all you have to bring to the table?

  297. Dane Skold

    Phil,

    As one example of valid reason to be skeptical of GISS temperature reports, consider Anchorage Alaska. It’s temperature reports since 1910 have been adjusted down by 0.9 degrees C since 1910 as an urban heat island adjustment.

    The data for the rural reference station at Matanuska, AK, 35 miles from Anchorage, was been adjusted first downward by 0.7 degrees Celsius during the period of about 1915 to 1970, and then adjusted upward by 0.7 degrees C from 1970 to 1990.

    Since Matanuska is the rural reference station for Anchorage, its temperature reports should not have been adjusted.

    The net effect of these changes is to create a 4.4 degrees C per century warming trend.

    This suggests three questions:

    1. Why was the reference rural station data adjusted?

    2. Why should the trustees of the GISS record be trusted?

    3. If we have to ask the preceding two questions, why should we accept without skepticism “reports” of dangerous global warming when the warming trend is the result of arbitrary adjustments to the data “record?”

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/02/21/fudged-fevers-in-the-frozen-north/#more-16605

  298. G Williams

    @ the BlackCat

    The energy was imparted at the creation of the system, and has been sustained since then by radiation from the sun, thermal energy from the warm core, and all kinds of other sources.
    A Chaotic system doesn’t need a ‘change’ in the amount of energy entering the system to trigger a change in the way that energy behaves in the system. There are countless feedback effects making up and influencing the climate which can trigger all kinds of seemingly contradictory changes over eons.

    This is basically the definition of a chaotic system, wikipedia expresses it as ‘dynamical systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions. This sensitivity is popularly referred to as the butterfly effect. Small differences in initial conditions (such as those due to rounding errors in numerical computation) yield widely diverging outcomes for chaotic systems’

    Think of tossing two pebbles into a pond, when the ripples from these pebbles collide, they interfere with each other in different ways, there can be nodes that are higher than the peaks of either ripple pattern, and nodes that are lower than the troughs of either pattern. A paper boat on that pond would experience peaks and troughs, as well as the ‘super-nodes’ and ‘supra-nodes’
    This system (the pond, two pebbles and the boat) is relatively easy to understand, someone on that boat would likely be able to infer the initial circumstances relatively easily, but before long, the ripple paterns will reflect off the edges of the pond and cause even more complex patterns and before long, the system is virtually indecipherable. As you increase the number of pebbles, and vary their size, shape and the force with which you toss them, the system becomes rapidly more complex.
    And that would be a relatively simple chaotic system, the Climate is many orders of magnitude more complex.

  299. Monkey Deathcar

    I thank llewelly and TheBlackCat, and others for providing data and putting up with the trolls (most notably kim and Tim). I thank the trolls for showing that they have no valid arguments that haven’t been addressed and debunked with links and data provided by the first two individuals mentioned (+others).

    To those that have the knowledge and evidence, keep up the good work. To those that don’t know, learn something, your “concerns” are being addressed right in this thread.

  300. LWhat

    ya know… what I cannot understand, at all… is why the people who believe in anthropogenic climate change are not screaming bloody murder at the doofuses working at the IPCC and the University of East Anglia for not having any sense of scientific rigor in data gathering or quality control. It doesn’t take more than one high school chemistry class to know that you need the source data to back up your conclusions.

    One of THE most famous and focused scientific debates in the history of the world, and you lose the source data… are ya kidding me?

    If you believe in climate change, the data should back it up, right? If you lose the data, it’s going to be Very difficult to resolve to any reasonable degree. So, all you who really belive in Anthropogenic Climate Change, please go storm the gates of the IPCC for their stupidity…

  301. Stephen

    @295 kim

    “I believe that the effect of CO2 is going to be shown to be so small that we will have had the luxury to wait to find out the answers I seek. I base that on our inability to find an anthropogenic signature even though we’ve increased the atmospheric concentration by 40%. I also believe that higher levels of CO2 will induce feedback which will increase the rate of sequestration, thus lowering the residence time of anthropogenic CO2. I also believe we are cooling for 20 to 100 years during which time the minimal warming effect and large fertilizing effect of CO2 will keep millions from freezing and starving to death.”

    Yet you label climate scientists “true believers”.

    Your whole argument seems to be based on your personal believe, and our “inability to find an anthropogenic signature”.

    As a matter of interest, what would you regard as evidence of an anthropogenic signature?

  302. Tim

    #299 – CO2 emission controls are policies doomed to fail because the emission free technology does not exist at a price that people are willing to pay. No amount of wishful thinking will change this.

    So it really does not make a difference whether I think the IPCC projections are high or about right. The science changes nothing about the practical policy options. All it does is change the adaption responses we will need. For example, if the IPCC projections turn out to be right we will have to plan on diking or abandoning many cities in low lying areas. The sooner this work starts the better. However, given the current data there is no need to start on that response yet.

    You do raise an important point about risk tolerance. I agree that different people are willing to tolerate different levels of risk but any policy changes will also impose different burdens on people.

    For example, a coal miner that faces loss of his job and a collapse of his community is going to tolerate a lot more risk before supporting CO2 control mechanisms. What this means is it will be impossible to craft any effective CO2 control policy because the people who end up getting screwed won’t support it.

    That is why I often ask alarmists to tell me what their breaking point is. i.e. what sacrifice would you refuse to make given the state of the science? Most people have a breaking point if population control is put on the table. Others would hit that point if the medicare plan was cancelled and the funds use to pay for CO2 emissions

    So what is your breaking point and why do you think you have a right to use the power of the state to force others past their own breaking point?

  303. G Williams

    @ Dane Skold

    The reasons and justifications for the adjustments of GISS temperature station data are pretty fascinating, but they are pretty much accurate to the intra-set variations effecting those stations as they are understood, and in fact, the GISS is continually updating how the data from these stations are corrected and correlated to better reflect the understanding of the different effects on individual stations and the over-all climate model.

    The problem comes when you try to compare the GISS data set to other sets (or indeed, try to compare/correlate any combination of temperature data sets), since the effects influencing the different data-sets can be very different, and for much of the available historical data sets, there are very little over-laps that can be used to correct for inter-set errors. Luckily, this has (finally) been noticed, and there are several studies under-way to improve the accuracy of inter-set comparisons.
    Until those studies are complete, we have a limited understanding of how temperatures from before about 50-100 years ago compare to those today (mind you this is still far enough back to definitively prove that the climate is warming)

  304. Tim

    #301 – Even those claims are gross exagerrations. Primates first appeared on the scene during a warm episode with CO2 > 2000ppm. We could go back to those levels and humans will survive without any problems. The only issue is how we deal with the largely immobile human populations today. It is possible that the human population would have to shrink which would likely involve a lot of tragedy but it also possible that technology will allow humans to adapt. It absurd to say that life as we know it will dissappear.

  305. Astrofiend

    Blah blah blah. Quick – someone said something on the internet that is WRONG! I must put a stop to this!!! I’d better keep posting convincing one paragraph arguments on a blog site until they come around to my point of view!

  306. Joey Joe Joe

    @299 (Doug Watts):

    “Saying ‘we don’t know’ is not an acceptable response”

    Uhhh… what the!?!?!?

  307. ND

    Tim: “It absurd to say that life as we know it will dissappear.” It’s absurd to argue by using that sentence because that’s not what’s being “alarmist” about. Nobody is saying life will dissapear. It’s about impact on civilization in terms of lives and money.

    “It is possible that the human population would have to shrink which would likely involve a lot of tragedy…”
    That’s the issue, and as climate changes resources such as water may become scarse in parts of the world leading to war. That’s the issue.

    Those studying the past climate *know* that life will go on with or without us, which is why they don’t claim AGW will destroy life on earth.

    [ Edit: it seems Tim is responding to Doug Watts’ last post. I think I jumped too quickly on Tim’s post. Although this strawan argument has been thrown about in discussions of AGW. ]

    Astrofiend,

    Are you implying pointing out others are wrong on the internet, no matter what side of the argument one is on, is some sort of head sickness? Sir, I assert that you are wrong!

  308. serged

    they might as well outlaw gravity which is only a theory

  309. NelC

    Tim, when a lot of people die, life changes. You won’t necessarily be in the comfortable position of being among the richest 10% of the world’s population if a large number of that population dies because of climate change.

    Don’t shrug off tragedy just because you’re confident that it’s not going to happen to you; it isn’t classy.

  310. Tim

    NelC,

    Nobody is going to die from climate change. People will only die from poverty. The best way to protect people against such an outcome is to focus on economic growth and bringing the people currently in poverty out of it. More people will die if the world economy is crippled by a misguided and ineffective attack on fossil fuels.

    In any case, I was pointing out what I believe to be the absolute worst case scenario and I do not see a massive die off of humans as a likely scenario. The people who suggest the earth will become some lifeless stone are spouting nonsense.

  311. Bill

    Regarding the claims by people above that the part about “climatological, meteorological, astrological, thermological, cosmological, and ecological” being a misprint:

    So what if it was? Well for starters it’s still there. They had plenty of time to vet that resolution and read it. The language is still there. The Senate now HAS to look at the same verbiage. They will either not read the resolution and vote on it, or they will get wind that the lower house has beclowned themselves and table it or send it back like an overcooked steak. Either way the dork is out of the bag and boy does he look dumb!

    Do they believe that science teachers and profs should teach astrology? No. Don’t be ridiculous. Nor are they illiterate. Ok the recorder, sponsor and the cosponsors, maybe, but more likely the balance of them are just too lazy. At least they didn’t say “thermalicious.”

    And that’s the take home point. In writing the non-binding resolution (no different expressing concerns for Jersey Shore youth culture and wearing white after Labor Day) they showed that they really weren’t interested in AGW to begin with. This is a partisan shout-out. Otherwise they would have been more careful in drafting the HR. Educators will not, nor can they, comply with the resolution, it’s too vague. However, it shows that the people behind the resolution are lazy poseurs, and the education community in the state will and should take as much time in contemplating the resolution as the House who voted for it.

    Meanwhile many people will have a good laugh at the expense of the people who “Voted for Astrology” in an era — where for bloody good reason — people have been catching hell for not reading for the bills in front of them.

  312. Brian Too

    Hey, c’mon Texas, where are you in this? You’re gonna get your butt kicked by Utah and South Dakota?? Wassamatter, is your crazy too tired? Are you not competitive? I mean, I could forgive you letting Utah steal a march on you (they did manage to host an Olympics and did a decent job), but South Dakota? That’s just lame!

  313. zwamus

    After all the scientific fraud – it’s hard to read an article like this without giggling – a lot – which leads to out right laughter. The old fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me doesn’t apply I guess. What happened to fool me twenty times shame shame on me Takes a gullable fool to still hold onto this BS.

  314. NelC

    Tim, when the monsoon fails, many, many people die. If the monsoon starts to fail regularly, more people will die before things adjust. People die in the catastrophic floods that are becoming more common. These people are already poor; rich nations squabbling over the dwindling fossil fuels aren’t going to improve their lot a single iota.

    Beyond the worst media hype, I don’t think anyone’s seriously proposing that we’ll kill ourselves off with this particular folly. But there’s a continuum between “We’re all going to die!” and “Everything is for the best in this, the best of all possible worlds.” It’s folly to just hope for the best.

  315. Tim

    #320 – if the monsoons are going to fail they will fail no matter what we do. That is the part of the equation you seem to be missing. CO2 control is a doomed policy that cannot possibly succeed in reducing emissions to the degree demanded. adaptation is the only option.

    also, a lot of poor countries have unsustainable population growth and that will kill a lot of people unless they can modernize quickly. it is unreasonable to blame deaths that would have happened anyways on the CO2. if we want to help we need to help them modernize and that will be a lot easier to do without obsessing about co2.

  316. Claude Guyot-Sionnest

    Creationism is not a science and is more like a faith a stupid faith and we both agree on that respect. Science of the climate the way you seem to settle it, is definitely the new and largest world faith for the medias and politics alike.
    I know a couple of great scientists who lost their job or their house just because they were what you call “deniers”. In my country, France, there is a law that send you in prison if you are recognised as a denier of the holocaust. So my question is : would you want to send in prison those 31,000 scientists you mentioned in your blog? Or denier in your mouth is just an abuse of language? in both case there is little chance that we become friends.
    Now if you do think that man made GW is setteled science and before fighting like hell for a carbon taxe, please look at Wikipedia for the Copenhagen consensus. It’s very refreshing

  317. Astrofiend

    313. ND Says:
    February 22nd, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    Wanna argue ’bout it!?

    No – you know as well as anybody that I enjoy a bit of a joust on the net, especially over on UT… But I do think that passionately arguing your point and trying to convince people who are effectively unconvincable using one-paragraph soundbites borders on slightly ridiculous.

    I’ll have changed my mind by tomorrow though, so you’ll probably see me on here again soon disagreeing vehemently with everybody but myself.

  318. Eamon

    Tim@280

    4) What happens is we waste trillions trying to limit CO2 only to find that the warming is largely natural and CO2 has little effect? Given that uncertainty the smart thing to do is prepare to adapt because the money will be well spent no matter what the reason for warming.

    CO2 has little effect? That is a very, very ‘far out’ suggestion, as the physics of CO2 radiative properties are very well known. You might as well say “What if the sun starts adjusting its output to accomodate us?”

    Kim@290

    Thanks for walking into that trap. The mere presence of vast stores of hydrocarbons and the even vaster store of carbonates proves that the sun acting on biomass virtually permanently sequesters Carbon Dioxide underground. Note the weasel word ‘virtually’. Man has found a way around the virtually permanent sequestration by recovering hydrocarbons and reversing the chemical process.

    Yay! They fell for the trap Kim!! Now we just have to wait for biological processes to absorb all the CO2 we’ve been releasing, and then the geological processes can take over. Shouldn’t take more than 10 million years or so.

    Warmists! You fools!! Just wait 10 million years and you’ll see!

  319. TheBlackCat

    The energy was imparted at the creation of the system, and has been sustained since then by radiation from the sun, thermal energy from the warm core, and all kinds of other sources.
    A Chaotic system doesn’t need a ‘change’ in the amount of energy entering the system to trigger a change in the way that energy behaves in the system. There are countless feedback effects making up and influencing the climate which can trigger all kinds of seemingly contradictory changes over eons.

    I am familiar with chaotic systems. Just because a system is chaotic does not mean its state a point in time cannot be analyzed, it does not mean its history cannot be analyzed, it just means its state at a point in the future cannot be established with absolute certainty (although it often can be established within certain boundaries).

    That means that if the system is changing, we should be able to observe those changes. “Energy balance” is not a fundamental property of the system, it is a change in how the system interacts with other systems therefore it must be caused by some other change within the system. Basic physics requires that a change in the energy balance must reflect a change in some other properties of the system. So we should be able to look at the system and determine what change has occurred. We may not be able to figure out why that other property changed since that change might be chaotic (or it might not), but we should be able to tell what that other property is and in what way it has changed. Calling the system chaotic does not mean the system can violate the laws of physics. An net energy imbalance without some other change in the system violates basic laws of physics. It simply cannot happen.

  320. TheBlackCat

    CO2 control is a doomed policy that cannot possibly succeed in reducing emissions to the degree demanded. adaptation is the only option.

    You keep saying this as though it were an unquestionable fact, but you have not actually bothered to substantiate it. The only source you have provided is your interpretation of an unnamed article in an unspecified issue of a non-peer-reviewed magazine article by an unnamed author based on unknown data and unspecified assumptions. That and your own personal intuition. That is hardly convincing, considering, as previously noted, such estimates by reputable economists vary by several orders of magnitude at least.

    Your argument does not hold any water unless people accept your premises, and you have not given us any reason to accept your premises other than your own authority, and you have given us no reason to accept your authority, either. Your repeated moving of goalposts gives us lots of reason not to trust your authority, actually.

  321. dane skold

    @309 G Williams

    Sorry Mr. Williams, that sounds suspiciously like an appeal to authority argument. Of course you couldn’t state all of the reasons for GISS adjustments in your comment, but a reference would be helpful.

    nevertheless, a graph is worth a thousand words…

    http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/anchorage_adjustments.jpg?w=489&h=328

    and…

    http://climateaudit.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/matanuska_adjustments.jpg

    Those adjustments to Matanuska create a hocky stick temperature graph.

    What basis is there for playing with raw data that way for a reference station that has not moved or been subjected to an urban heat island?

    The systemic adjustment of data using only the rationale of “trust me” is not science, sir.

    I have no agenda here. If there is global warming, then I will accept that. If there is not, I will accept that too.

    The exposed adjustments coupled with reluctance to disclose data and methods, and the arbitrariness of dendrochronology, leaves me with a gnawing sense of skeptcism.

  322. kim

    Phil, I’ve given my answer to your question for charlie and reposed the Cheshire Cat Sunspots question. Thank you for the forum, my friend.
    =========================================

  323. Redstar

    Tim #321: “if the monsoons are going to fail they will fail no matter what we do. That is the part of the equation you seem to be missing.”
    I’d say you’re the one missing something. Let’s make it simple: By doing something that makes the monsoons more likely to fail due to a shift in weather pattern, humans influence the monsoon. People can die because of climate change – and will, because human societies are specialized for the climate in which they were founded, not every other possible climate.
    This is not really tough to mentally model, and in fact we’re seeing it in small-scale right now. Washington, D.C. doesn’t have infrastructure to quickly recover after a large snowfall, because historically their winters have been mild compared to, say, Boston’s. (And I’m not saying Washington’s recent weather is proof of anything – except that cities are built to handle specific problems based on historical trends). It’s easy to imagine the effects of large-scale weather instability. Economic difficulty would seem pretty much inevitable once people find their usual method of getting to work is non-functional.

    “also, a lot of poor countries have unsustainable population growth and that will kill a lot of people unless they can modernize quickly. it is unreasonable to blame deaths that would have happened anyways on the CO2. if we want to help we need to help them modernize and that will be a lot easier to do without obsessing about co2.”
    I’m curious how you’d quantify “deaths that would have happened anyway”. Let’s say there’s a drought in Kenya; people are dehydrating and starving to death. Droughts happen every few years, and they are tragic but not preventable. This is nothing new, so it can’t be attributed to CO2 by your rubric. However, if droughts occur every other year instead of every several, then the above-average deaths are attributable to CO2. The tough bit about this sort of data-gathering is that we can only do it in retrospect: Only after several years of drought can we establish a definite trend. By then, how many have died to satisfy you?

    Also: In many developing countries “modernization” = grossly increasing their CO2 emissions in a compressed time-scale. (Exhibit A: the People’s Republic of China). So while we’re still figuring out what exactly CO2 does, we’ll also be banking heavily on an uncertain position, and tempting a feedback effect.

    I’m a pro audio engineer, and I have had a LOT of experience with feedback. The fact that we’re even talking about feedback in the climate – even suggesting it – and not taking the greatest possible preventative measures quite frankly scares the living f%&k out of me. I work with closed systems (concert venue sound systems) for a living. Feedback effects routinely overload such systems and make them behave very unpredictably. Runaway feedback can easily destroy them. The Earth as a blown amp stack.

    It’s good science to demand accurate results, yes. The problem is that we’re living in the test tube, and are stuck with whatever result the experiment yields if we run it to conclusion. Modifying Pascal’s wager makes a lot of sense in this situation: Since the potential harm caused by action is far less than the potential for harm caused by inaction, wouldn’t action be the more prudent course?

    I don’t expect any sort of agreement, though. You’ve made the comment section of this blog into your personal Alamo, and you’re clearly entrenched. Good for you.

  324. Tim

    #326 – Here is article
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=a-path-to-sustainable-energy-by-2030

    100 trillion world wide not including transmission lines.
    Transmission lines and land rights easily double that cost.
    US share of world energy production is 16%
    $32 trillion for the US.
    Spread it over 40 years you get 800 billion per year.

    And that assumes the technology works as advertised which will never happen.
    It also presumes some large efficiency gains which may not be achievable.

    Lower expectations to replace a mere 10% of production with renewables by 2050 and it would still cost 80 billion per year. Manageable cost but won’t make much of dent in Co2 emissions.

    You can play with the numbers but it is technically and economically impossible to reduce emissions significantly by 2050. It is pointless to even discuss it as an option.

    We can talk about investing a sensible amount of money in renewables and trying to work out the problems with the technology but that sensible amount will do nothing to stop climate change if the IPCC is right.

  325. TheBlackCat

    @ Tim: Once again, why should we trust that article over all the others?

    And where does the IPCC say that there are no sensible solutions to the problem?

  326. G Williams

    @The BlackCat

    the problem is that the system is so complicated, and changes can take place on such a large timescale,t hat we have trouble pinpointing where the change actually started, and what caused it.

    When you say that a net energy imbalance exists in a chaotic system, the ‘change’ that caused it the creation of the system, the energy levels have been moving towards balance ever since.

    @Dane Skold

    You could try actually, I dunno, reading the GISS pages being criticized instead of believing the pretty graphs, since the links do a pretty good job of explaining the rules and reasons behind the Homogenization changes, which are not the rules or reasons that Mr. Eschenbach seems to believe they are (‘As the Romans used to say “falsus in unum, falsus in omnibus”’ or ‘Hoist by his own petard’)

  327. Tim

    #332 – What others? I can’t answer the question unless you have a specific study in mind.

    However, one thing you need to keep in mind. This particular study tries to solve the intermittency problem with redundancy. i.e. if a wind turbine only averages 20% of its capacity it assumes that 5 are built to provide the nameplate capacity. I have seen some reports which use the nameplate capacity when calculating costs which means the costs are grossly underestimated.

    You misread my statement. I meant if IPCC is right about climate change then it is impossible to stop it with the technology and economic resources available.

  328. Tim

    #330 – stable natural systems do not have runaway positive feedback that can destroy the system. If the earth’s climate system was subject that behavoir it would have self destructed a long time ago.

    Also, climate scientists use positive feedback in different way than engineers. What they are really talking about is an amplifying factor. i.e. a change in T is amplified by A to result in a net change AT. The overall climate system is kept stable because as T increases the radiation lost to space increases. This factor will prevent temperature changes from going out of the range which we have seen in the past – ranges which have all allowed life to flourish.

  329. Wait, wait…
    Did I read that people are suggesting we do *nothing* to counter potentially significant climate change on the grounds that *some* of the suggestions for doing so are excessively costly?

  330. Sean H

    @Tim:

    The Earth will still be around after the effects of catastrophic events. We might not be though. The dinosaurs couldn’t control the asteroid and even if they could they didn’t have the communication abilities we have to coordinate a solution. Doing nothing because it’d be hard is cowardice when the only downside to solving it is economic, and the only cost in doing nothing is jeopardizing(at the very least) American society, if not western civilization, or our dominance as a species all together. Ultimately I’m only concerned about this planet(selfish as this may be) because it’s the only place I know of that can support my life, as well as that of my family and the species.

    Enjoy your low taxes though, maybe use some of that cash for swimming lessons.

  331. Tim

    #337 and #336

    It is not a simply a question of spending. There is a huge technical risk that goes with the investment because the technology will likely not work as advertised.

    There are also real resource constraints because the raw materials like copper are already running low. Peak copper or peak indium could be as problematic as peak oil.

    What this means is trying to limit CO2 emissions makes no economic sense and it is pointless to discuss. If climate change is a real risk we must adapt and if adaptation costs a lot of money then we will have to pay it but I see it a lower risk strategy given the options available.

    This is not about wanting to keep taxes low. This is about having a sensible discussion about our options and choosing the path that provides the best cost vs. risk balance.

  332. Tim

    The Interstate Highway System is “largest public works program in history.” The concept was first approved by congress in 1944. But it was more than a decade until President Eisenhower signed the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956. The plan evolved to building 42,500 miles of “super-highway” by 1975. 40,000 miles were completed by 1980.

    The expected cost in 1958 was $41 billion. By 1995 the total construction cost amounted to $329 billion (in 1996 dollars). This translates into $58.5 billion 1957 dollars. That is not too far off from the original estimate. Converting the $329 billion 1996 dollars to 2009 dollars gives $453 billion.

    IOW – the yearly capital cost of the required renewable infrastructure is nearly double the cost of the entire interstate highways system. It is absurd to even contemplate of project of that scale.

  333. ND

    Tim,

    Your pessimism make doom&gloom “alarmists” look like hopeless optimists. Many countries including China are looking into alternatives and future sources of energy. Given the debts the US is under, this country cannot afford to be left out of a lucrative market. New technologies need to be tried and researched. Wind and other alternatives are in use and feeding energy into the existing grids. They’re a small percentage but they’re not random experiments here and there either. You’re making excuse to give not even try.

  334. Tim

    A sanity check on the interstate vs. renewable cost differential:

    Total paved areas of the Interstate: 3200 sqkm
    Total area of solar PV panels installed in the US: 17,000 sqkm

    Cost per 1 sqm of pavment: $10
    Cost per 1 sqm of solar panels: $600

  335. Tim

    ND – I have no problems investing heavily in renewables provided we are realistic about what can be achieved.

    What I am saying is the US will not reduce its CO2 emissions by any significant amount by 2050. Any policy that claims it will achieve such an objective is a drug induced fantasy. This means that if the IPCC is right about climate change then we are wasting our time talking about policies to reduce CO2 emissions. We need to talk about policies focused on adaption.

    The US has zero chance of competing with China when it comes to manufacturing. The German solar PV makers had a head start for years and ample gov’t support and they are now unable to complete with the low cost Chinese panels.

    If the US embarked on a massive renewable effort it would be buying the solar panels from China because it could not afford to do anything else.

  336. Dane Skold

    @G Williams 333

    Which GISS data set should I believe?

    The 2000 version or 2009 version?

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/06/28/nasa-giss-adjustments-galore-rewriting-climate-history/

    What will the data set be this year? Next year? The year after?

    When do the temperatures in the past stop changing?

    The point being that the GISS data set, as the other data sets, are not data sets at all at this point.

    They are opinion sets.

  337. Lawrence

    Tim, I find your lack of faith disturbing (lol).

    But, honestly – what you’re saying is, if the IPCC reports are true – we should all try to get the best deck chairs on the Titanic.

    On one hand, you say we need to grow the economy – regardless of the cost of the environement. Why don’t we just throw out every single environmental regulation we have? Since they obviously are hurting our economic growth and we shouldn’t really worry about the consequences anyway, right?

    And Tim, if we were “realistic” in what could be achieved in Science – we’d have very long lasting candles right now, instead of electricity. If you never really strive for breakthroughs in new areas of technology, you will never get them.

    Just because you say it isn’t possible, doesn’t mean that some very dedicated researchers (in both the private and public sectors) won’t prove you wrong. I’m sure you were very surprised when horses were supplanted by automoblies. Or fall off your rocker whenever someone talks about those new-fangled airplanes.

  338. This being especially an astronomy blog, I sure would like to see a reply to #71 (not necessarily from Phil)

  339. Jon Hanford

    Phil, the stoopid, it burns! The response to your post boggles the mind (at a science site no less). They haven’t clue!

  340. Hecateus

    @Tim

    could you at least give credit to the websites you cut and paste from. ktx

  341. ND

    Tim,

    You’re just making excuses, “China and Germany have won already”. WTF?! Self-sufficiency is important for any country and US needs to re-up it’s manufacturing capability. Otherwise, and I’m no economist, but the world should not end up in a position to bail out the US because it’s too big to fail. Energy is critical for the existence of our civilizations and less polluting more sustainable sources are critical, not politically correct but essential.

  342. Tim

    #344 – All environmental regulations must be put through a cost benefit analysis. In many cases, the cost of implementing environmental regulations is relatively small compared to their benefit. In many cases (i.e. emissions standards on cars) the regulations pass the test even though industry complains and there is some negative effect on the economy.

    The trouble is when it comes to regulating CO2 the cost is so rediculously high it cannot be justified no matter what the risk of climate change.

    Lastly, I am very much in favour of R&D and other concrete steps to find some breakthough technology. But there is no guarantee that they will be found. That is why any government policy that tries to mandate outcomes (e.g. X% emission reductions by 2020) is completely brain dead and will only waste money that could be better spent on adaption.

  343. PiCubed

    Just a note: tim and kim who are trying to discuss things are not “trolls” as they have been labeled. You may disagree with them, but at least they are sticking to the topic.

    Something like this one:

    “Phil, the stoopid, it burns! The response to your post boggles the mind (at a science site no less). They haven’t clue!”

    *That* is a troll. Just insults without adding to the discussion.

    Yes, Jon Hanford, this is a *science* site. Science is where things get argued about. Science is where one of the best things you can do is constantly question the status quo. If you can get rid of politics, the best science can occur is when you have competing theorists at each others throats.

  344. Tim

    #348 ND,

    The self sufficiency argument is nonsense. Why draw the line at the US border? Why not require that every state or even every city be self sufficient?

    We all benefit because we can buy cheap manufactured goods from the Chinese or cheap oil from the Sauidis. The money that is saved purchasing these goods from the suppliers that can offer them for a lower cost can be reinvested elsewhere. It makes no sense to pay $1000 for a solar panel made in the USA if the Chinese can sell the same panel for $500.

    That said, there are problems because the US trade deficit and overvalued currency. But that is a complex topic that I don’t want to get into here. But the short answer is the US won’t need to be bailed out. The US$ will eventually crash and the world economic system will realign itself with the US as a much smaller player.

  345. Tim

    #347 – Hecateus here is my source for the info on the Intersate

    http://climatesanity.wordpress.com/2009/11/14/comparing-the-interstate-highway-system-to-scientific-americans-a-path-to-sustainable-energy-by-2030/

    I did not provide the link because posts with links sometimes get dumped into a moderation queue.

    Some of his numbers are wrong. The numbers I posted are based on my recalulations from the original SciAm paper.

  346. Mike G

    Ah yes, the German solar producers had a head start on the US in developing and producing technology that was first developed and produced commercially in the US. Makes about as much sense as the rest of Tim’s analysis. Perhaps by “head start” you mean they haven’t had people sitting around for the past 30 years saying that solar will never be viable?

    And really you should cite your numbers. When purchased in commercial quantities a 60w 1.4 sqm solar panel can be had for about $60, which comes out to about $42/ sqm for the panel itself. Granted that price doesn’t include an inverter, storage, or transmission, but it certainly makes me question how the $600/ sqm figure was arrived at.

    In any event in all of your comparisons between fossil fuels and alternatives you have been ignoring the cost of externalities which aren’t factored into the market price of fossil fuels, keeping the price artificially low.

    Also in your determination of costs of adaptation vs. prevention you seem to be only considering the cost of physical infrastructure. You’re ignoring the lost value of ecosystem services that cannot be easily or cheaply replaced if at all.

  347. Tim

    #353 – MikeG

    The SciAm paper I linked to listed $3823 per kW in 2030 for the cost of PV.
    The also defined a PV installation as a something that provides 3kW.
    Current technology produces 200W per 3ftx5ft panel.
    We need about 20 sqm for 3kW.
    Hence 3823*3/20 = 573 or approx 600.
    The cost of 3Kw with 60W panels is $2100 based on your numbers.
    Which is cheaper but does not include labour or other components.

    The cost of the externalities is irrelevant because they do not change the fact that someone has to come up with the cash to pay for the new capital investments before they can be used. $800 billion a year is a lot of money. It is equivalent to a $10,000 per US family each year – a sum that makes replacing fossil fuels an economically impossible goal no matter what the cost of externalities is.

    I am also not arguing that adaptation will be cheap – I am saying it is the only option and has the virtue of being useful even if climate change is not caused by CO2 or if the rest of the world refuses to do its part to reduce CO2.

    Lastly, the people who say that Solar PV would never be viable are still right and there is no sign of that changing. The capital cost per kW is simply too high.

  348. @Tim (354):

    (Hi, I’m back!)

    I actually kind of agree with one of your points here – that replacing fossil fuels is economically impossible – similarly in a previous statement you said:

    We all benefit because we can buy cheap manufactured goods from the Chinese or cheap oil from the Sauidis.

    The sad state of things is that R&D is more expensive than the status quo. Science may be able to design a better mouse trap, but when you have to train people how to use this new mouse trap, replace jobs at the old mouse trap factories, employ people at more expensive salaries than those old workers, and manage the infrastructure to replace the old mouse traps with the new ones, the cost starts to add up quickly.

    I think, though, it’s a cost that must be paid in the end. Ignoring the problem won’t solve it.

  349. Mark Schaffer

    It would certainly be helpful if “Tim” would post a CV to show what if any actual expertise he has to argue his points. I also wonder who Tim works for don’t you?

  350. Tim

    #355 – Kevin,

    It has never been enough to ‘build a better mouse trap’. Successful new technology must provide economic benefits that exceed the costs of continuing to use the existing technologies. Governments do have a limited ability to make some marginal technologies economic via regulation and/or subsidy. However, governments have no magic wand that can grant any wish.

    It is also important to remember that any problem has many possible solutions and when it comes to climate adaptation *is* a solution. It is not perfect but, unlike CO2 emission control, it has a chance of success even if it is not 100%.

  351. Tim

    #356 – Mark Schaffer

    I have linked to the SciAm article which I am using as a basis for my claims. Feel free to post a link to other analyses that you think can refute those numbers.

    I am an engineer and doing cost benefit analyses one of things I do for a living.

    Technology I have created is part of at least one renewable power project. IOW, I indirectly make money from the industry I am criticizing.

  352. Wow. Amazing how this topic can ignite such debate and – no pun intended – heat, from both sides of the fence. And honestly it can be very difficult to maintain an open mind and stay impartial, trying to uncover the real “facts” and look at them for what they are when there’s a lot of dubious behavior from both camps. It’s like trying to make it all the way through a crowded bazaar with people pushing and shoving and trying to sell you on every side, and yet you still need to find and buy the one item you need: the truth.

    That being said I have skipped past the last 300 comments or so. But I thought this article from the JPL/NASA site was interesting, regarding the effect of ocean temperature cycles on world climate and how even their variable patterns are pointing towards a warmer planet, due to the inclusion of our industrial “greenhouse gases”.

    http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2010-060&rn=news.xml&rst=2495

    Planets change. Look at Mars. Or Venus. Scientists agree they were both very different places once. Possibly even friendly to life. Now? Not so much. And our planet will change too, into a place not suitable for us. That’s a given. But it will take a long, long time…do we really need to rush it? Because that’s what we’re doing. Will we “destroy the planet”? Doubt it. But we can make it a place unpleasant for many, and inhospitable for others.

    It’s a closed environment, for the most part. A sealed room. Whoever’s passing gas needs to stop it.

  353. Steve Huntwork

    I will keep and repost this quote from Phil for the next few years:

    “As you can see by this NASA graphic from the linked page, Antarctica loses over 100 billion tons of ice per year, the equivalent of about a hundred

    cubic kilometers (more than 20 cubic miles) of ice. That number is hard to grasp, but it’s the equivalent to the volume of a mountain about 14,000 feet

    high — or, if you prefer, it’s like saying that one Colorado Rocky Mountain’s worth of ice disappears every year. Just in Antarctica alone.”

    As an Astronomer and rather smart person, Phil needs to explain to everyone how any satellite could measure such a tiny change in gravity over the

    entire continent of Antarctica to such an amazing accuracy!

    How was this truely amazing accuracy from a satellite validated and verified?

    Curious minds would like to know…

    My bet is that Phil will claim that he trusted what he was being told without question, but finally realized that something was wrong. That absolute

    trust in un-verified data sources was a major embarrassment to him.

    That, or he will delete all historical records of anything that he said on the subject…

  354. Eamon

    Picking up on the “gas of life” quote, I decided to do a search on Google Scholar and Google Books for “The gas of life” with “carbon dioxide”.


    Results from Google Scholar – two skeptic papers, one in a skeptic collection (i.e. not peer reviewed, the other on a website):

    Carbon cycle modelling and the residence time of natural and anthropogenic atmospheric CO2: on the construction of the “Greenhouse Effect Global Warming” dogma. TV Segalstad, 1998.

    AND

    Global Warming Myth and Marxism EF Blick, klimarealistene.com.

    And rounded off with “Breathing Free: The Revolutionary 5-Day Program to Heal Asthma” by T Hale, L Galland.


    In Google Books we get:

    New world of chemistry: science in the service of man‎ a 1952 textbook with a chapter entitled “Carbon Dioxide, the gas of life and decay”.

    There is also our miracle Asthma program, but also:

    Mysteries of the planets‎ Franklyn Mansfield Branley.
    The Origins of Life‎ Roy A. Gallant.
    Sun, sea, and sky: weather in our world and in our lives‎ I Krick, R Fleming.
    Medical geology: effects of geological environments on human health‎ MM Komatina
    Science, understanding your environment‎ GG Mallinson

    Unfortunately all these books actually refer to Oxygen as “The Gas of Life”.


    So, Two papers – one from a right-wing think tank, the other self-published, and a 50s textbook are all there is on the skeptical side – so the assertion that many scientists call CO2 “The Gas of Life” is patently rubbish.

  355. Bill

    Unfortunately all these books actually refer to Oxygen as “The Gas of Life”.

    “Animal Chauvinist!”
    The Blue Chick from Farscape…

    :-P

  356. Ben

    Just like to point out as a former South Dakotan (now living in beautiful secular-humanist Seattle; we got out right around the time they were trying to ban abortion a few years back), that while I’m sure many would appreciate a milder winter, summers are at least as miserable. As in heat waves around 110-120 degrees. So I think it’s more likely a genuine disbelief than any desire for the weather to change.

  357. fred edison

    Some say there’s no scientific evidence for climate change, but I think that assertion is weak and doesn’t hold water.

    There’s a PBS NOVA program you can watch online called ‘Extreme Cave Diving’ (see link below). In the last 50 years it’s estimated there’s been a ten fold increase in the amount of dust storms in the African Sahara Desert because of severe drought. It is theorized that thousands of years in the past, much of this generated dust from dust storms reached the upper atmosphere where it traveled thousands of miles settling near the blue hole rich Bahamas. Blue hole (underwater caves formed during the last ice) diver scientists have discovered climate change evidence on the cave walls, which have a thick layer of iron laden dust in them. The caves also contain ancient stalagmites. Cross-section samples of these formations show a distinct band of this iron laden dust in conjunction with periods of major climate changes during the last 80,000 years. IOW, what we’re experiencing with the increase of dust storms is fitting the historical pattern of accelerated and major climate change as recorded in stalagmites, and preserved in the (currently) pristine blue holes.

    http://video.pbs.org/video/1405567128/ (41 minutes in for stalagmite discussion)

    Of course, all of the climate change evidence that neatly corroborates with ice core sample findings (and other areas of climate research), will probably mean absolutely nothing to the scientific evidence rejectors and reality deniers. It’s just “natural changes” to them. I hope they’re right but I wouldn’t bet a penny on it. Some of these dramatic changes could happen in their lifetime or at the latest their children’s lifetime.

  358. Pi-needles

    @ 362. Bill Says:

    Unfortunately all these books actually refer to Oxygen as “The Gas of Life”.
    “Animal Chauvinist!”
    The Blue Chick from Farscape…

    LOL. :-)

    If I recall right her name was Zhaan, yes? ;-)

    [Checks & returns] Yes indeed :

    * Pa’u Zotoh Zhaan (Virginia Hey), a bald, blue-skinned female who belongs to a plant-like species, named Delvians. Once a Priestess of her religious order, Zhaan murdered her lover after discovering he was a Peacekeeper collaborator. Regarded as an anarchist by her captors, she was jailed along with D’Argo and Rygel. Like other members of her species, Zhaan is a telepath; she can share “unity” with other beings (two minds in one body, they can share thoughts, sensations…) and also, as a Pa’u, she is able to share pain with another being.

    Good ole Wikipedia to the rescue as ever :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farscape#Main_characters

    Hmm .. Very um “Pandoran Na’vi” like isn’t she? Wonder if there’ll be a plagiarism case on that? ;-)

    PS. Yegods! 365 comments here now – one of everyday of the year? Clearly this is the topic de jour indeed.

  359. Plutonium being from Pluto

    Note that this discussion / debate incl. my reply to some folks here continues on the latest BA AGW thread here :

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/02/24/nasa-talks-global-warming/comment-page-4/#comment-249552

  360. Chris Winter

    Tim (#283) wrote: “Economic illiteracy is the biggest problem with the AGW crowd. There would not even be a discussion if more people had even a basic grasp of economics.”

    I guess Paul Krugman cheated on his doctoral thesis, and bribed the Nobel committee. And Lord Stern, now there’s an economic nincompoop.

    Regarding your continued assertion that there is no economic solution to CO2 in alternative energy, you need to explain why wind energy is a growth industry, why solar PV and solar thermal plants are being built, why Home Depot is beginning to sell do-it-yourself solar kits, and why geothermal and ocean energy are starting to get some investments. Sure, subsidies and tax credits are involved, but when has that not been true for fossil fuels and nuclear fission?

  361. Chris Winter

    Tim (#354): “Lastly, the people who say that Solar PV would never be viable are still right and there is no sign of that changing. The capital cost per kW is simply too high.”

    Tim, you say you’re in favor of R&D and innovation, yet you discount any possibility of solar cells coming down enough in cost to compete — when in fact they have been coming down in cost, and getting more efficient.

  362. Morcheeb Sanjay

    84. Lonny Eachus Says:
    February 21st, 2010 at 2:32 pm
    “The very last sentence in the article: “And if other states follow suit, they may doom all of us.” shows once and for all that Phil is hardly objective about this, which is something I have suspected for a while now.”

    You Lonny have shown us that you are not objective either. In fact you lick the boots of Anthony Watts.

  363. such tools and they don’t even know it. tsk, tsk.

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